Defeater – Letters Home (Review)

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It’s been two years since the release of ‘Empty Days and Sleepless Nights’, an album that was 2/3 hardcore and 1/3 acoustic. Two years on Defeater are back with a release that is 100% gritty, passionate hardcore, with their third album; ‘Letters Home’.

The release doesn’t cover any new ground in terms of its sound and some people may be disappointed it isn’t as diverse as earlier releases, but ‘Letters Home’ is excellent hardcore that doesn’t lose any of its impact by sticking to one style. It’s a brutal album, with chugging guitars and thundering drums that drive it, with Derek Archambault’s gritty and powerful vocals being as strong as ever.

‘Letters Home’ rarely relents in its sensual onslaught, bar a number of acapella vocal segments which highlight Archambault’s strengths and ability to convey feelings via his vocals. It’s an angry and aggressive record, and is great because of this ferocity. Opening track ‘Bastards’ sets the tone for the following 9 tracks and pretty much sums up ‘Letters Home’ in terms of content. Some songs sound similar as a result of following a certain formula, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how good the songs featured actually are. ‘Blood In My Eyes’ is a great example of Defeater at their best, and is one of the albums best tracks. Only the closing song ‘Bleed Out’ surpasses the three and a half minute mark, meaning that ‘Letters Home’ is a fast album, that maintains a frantic and heavy pace, bar a few quieter sections, which are a welcome breather.

Lyrically the album is a concept album, similarly to past releases and is strong in this sense. It’s Defeater sticking to what they do best, continuing the story of the brothers and father used previously. It’s nice to see an album that focuses so much on lyrical content telling a story and Defeater should be commended for this.

Ultimately, ‘Letters Home’ is fast, crushing emotive hardcore at it’s best in terms of delivery and content. The album lacks diversity and occasionally sounds a little repetitive, but the songs it contains are very good and mask this to an extent. It’s a very solid third album from one of the best bands currently occupying the genre, and one that I’d recommend.

Rating – 8/10

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