Reviewed by Rod Lobaugh
It begins predictably enough. The slow bass drum kick. A grinding guitar intro. The build-up and anticipation for a smack in the face, heavy duty explosion from the new band of former Six Feet Deep frontman Myk Porter. Wail a minute! That guy is singing! Not yelling, barking, or screaming until his head implodes. Hey! Where is the high speed, severe chaos! Isn't this supposed to be hardcore? Welcome to 'Letterbox', the new release from Brandtson on Steadfast Records. Throughout the 11 songs, one of which is an instrumental, that constitute 'Letterbox'. Porter and company have managed to diversify themselves from the past, carving a rather large niche for themselves in the present. On the musical front, Brandtson have immense depth. Drawing from some of the more trendy vibes of emo and modern rock, while weaving in bits of their hardcore roots. Brandtson create an enticing dark atmosphere throughout the entirety of "Letterbox'. They lean more towards a heavy, grinding groove while never crossing into hardcore territory. At times, they seem to intentionally stray from the slightest inkling of hardcore, opting for an almost pop rockish effect. Yet this only lasts for brief moments, giving over the rest of the album to a driving emotion and momentary lapses of severity. The real gem of "Letterbox' may be the vocal talents of Myk Porter. Those sensitive-eared folk who found Myk's pounding vocals while with Six Feet Deep to be a painful load on the ears will discover a surprising subtlety and variety in Porter's performance. His vocals are gritty and rough, but able to carry a tune well. The most eerie moment on 'Letterbox' comes at the end in the form of a hidden track. This freakish little melody is well worth the wait, but will likely conjure memories of the little girl from all the Nightmare On Kim Street movies. For hardcore purists who still mourn the passing of The Crucified, and view Slavesacre as little more than a cheap mockery. Brandtson's 'Letterbox' is another step down a road of bitter tears. For others, "Letterbox" presents a deep assortment of emotive rock. It is a dynamic collection of songs showcasing a band of enormous quality and power.
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