Post-hardcore is a genre we don’t touch much about round these parts. Although I have strong feelings about a number of its shining examples, a fair amount of it is also unmitigated crap (Asking Alexandria, Enter Shikari), and a lot of the acts I do like are no longer current – it’s a scene that seemed to have had its day a few years back, from the earlier success of At The Drive-In to the more experimental These Arms Are Snakes. Given our propensity to, you know, post about current bands, perhaps it’s right that we don’t talk about it much.
Thankfully there are a few bands still carrying the torch, and proving that it’s not just hardcore-lite with pussy vocals. Glassjaw I’ve mentioned before, but letlive. (always with the full stop) have recently come to my attention, and have given me hope for a dying art.
You see, for me it isn’t, as mentioned, a softer form of anything. True, it does take a more melodic approach at times, and perhaps the gain isn’t up as high, but post-hardcore is no less furious than any of its heavy siblings, and in fact it can at times be more passionate; even more rage-filled than traditional metal, which is more of a sweaty, manly rage – all grim reapers and chopping up hordes of your enemies and cooking them. Post-hardcore is often more about bad relationships and daddy issues, but only in the way of smacking your bitch round the chops and telling her to make you a sammich.
Take the aforementioned letlive.’s most recent offering, Fake History. I’ve not heard lyrics so caustic and visceral from a band since the closing of Glassjaw’s Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence; the lyrics to “Hotel of the White Locust” reading like an advanced level textbook in chauvanism: “Wipe off your mouth // Get up off your knees and make me your god (…) As long as your mouth is shut you’ll still be fucking beautiful.”
This track is now old, admittedly, but as I said, letlive. now carry the same torch. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler sings often about God and his faith – so you could assume he was a nice young Christian man – but rages like a rabid dog and curses like a sailor. Album closer “Day 54” is probably the most religiously charged, but also the most angry, and whilst I may not share the reasons behind his particular viewpoint, it makes for fucking awesome listening.
It’s an album full of great tracks, and Butler is a fantastic frontman, combining the barely concealed rage of Daryl Palumbo with some of the vocal quirks of Jerry Jones of Trophy Scars. If your mind is even slightly open to heavy music with less focus on technicality and riffing, and more focus on pure fuckin’ rage, then letlive. might just be the band for you (it’s pretty much all on Youtube at this point).