Defeater
Letters Home


3.0
good

Review

by Charlie USER (9 Reviews)
July 13th, 2013 | 141 replies | 4,456 views


Release Date: 07/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Defeater's third outing "Letters Home" is largely competent but ultimately forgettable, and sees the volatile Hardcore-quintet taking several steps back.

4 of 9 thought this review was well written

The essence of melodic hardcore distilled by Massachusetts band Defeater has always been one with a lot flair for storytelling. Their debut album "Travels" and sophomore album "Empty Days and Sleepless Nights" were both albums featuring thematic strains -- centering on a dysfunctional family deteriorating amidst a World War II-torn America. Both albums were incredibly dark and lyrically intense and relied heavily on the dueling guitar work of Jay Maas and Jake Woodruff and Derek Archambault's haunting vocal delivery.

While many fans were divisive over the progression made on their sophomore album (featuring soft, acoustic tracks that rounded out the album) the album was mostly lauded by critics and one might assume that Defeater are likely to delve into more uncharted territory on their third go-around.

Sadly, this isn't the case; "Letters Home" is an incredibly by-the-numbers album by Defeater-standards that treads the exact same ground as before. While the acoustic elements have been scrapped in favor of the approach found on their debut album, Defeater seems to have completely forgotten about all of their advancements made on "Empty Days.." and instead settle for much less than what they are capable of.

The opening track "Bastards" sets a solid tone for the record and features edgy guitar work, pulse-pounding drums and a stirring chorus that brings out the best of Defeater's arsenal. Sadly, "Bastards" basically frames how the entire album sounds. Yes, Derek's harsh shouts and Jay's shrieking back-up screams are intertwined nicely and the intricate guitar work and Joe Longobardi's rhythmically sound drumming is here in full effect.

The problem is that Defeater showcase everything that they have already shown in terms of musicianship and lyrical content whilst refusing to tread outside of their comfort zone. Even more disappointing, is that this album lacks many stand-out moments -- you won't find a chorus here as stupendous as the one found in "Dear Father" or an album closer half as stunning or memorable as the incredible "White Oak Doors" from their sophomore effort.

Instead, songs such as "Rabbit Foot", "Blood in My Eyes" and "Dead Set" are cut-and-paste songs that all span around two-and-half minutes and sound too identical to one another, thus causing the tracks to bleed together with little variation to pick up the slack. Fortunately, "No Saviour" 's ambient, post-rock-inspired build-up and emotionally-wrought climax serves as the album's saving grace and the closing lyrics "I gave my faith away, I gave my brother a coffin, let me be downed" provide the guttural punch that was sorely missing up until that point.

It's too bad that "Letters Home" didn't feature more of these moments, since Defeater's knack for providing catharsis through their extremely intense and emotionally-laden music has taken a bit of a back-seat on this album, whose best moments are mere reminders of the band's previous, far more refreshing work. After all, making a concept album only works for so long and Defeater proves that they have already extracted all that they can from this premise and relies on their tried-and-true formula throughout.

Still, Defeater's unique brand of Melodic hardcore is miles ahead of every "chugga, chugga breakdown" band saturating today's hardcore landscape -- so in spite of resting on their laurels, "Letters Home" is still an enjoyable, albeit largely forgettable effort that encapsulates what Defeater does best, and nothing more.



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user ratings (298)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Jacob Royal STAFF (3.5)
Let me be damned....

Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
And still all I see is that bastard in me...

NothingForSomething (3.5)
Defeater’s third LP is what you make of it....

ALucidReality (3)
Letters Home has all the elements needed to be a classic hardcore album - most of the time found in ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
July 13th 2013



18802 Comments


"It's horrible but it's still Defeater!!! -- 3."

KILL
July 13th 2013



67082 Comments


did someguest 5 it yet

Digging: Picchio dal Pozzo - Picchio dal Pozzo

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2013



48528 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stay until Wednesday
And write me a child-like letter pretending
At war here in Thursday
Let's make this our last day at home by the fence

Would you run, would you run
Would you run down past the fence?
Would you run, would you run
Would you run down past the fence?

And she screamed Claudio, dear Claudio
I wish goddamn it, we'll make it if you believe
And she screamed Claudio, dear Claudio
I wish goddamn it, we'll make it if you believe
And she screamed Claudio, dear Claudio
I wish goddamn it, we'll make it if you believe


Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

Eclecticist
July 13th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is alright. It has decent lyrics and some fun riffs.

Tyrael
July 13th 2013



20394 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not feeling this

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

iChuckles
July 13th 2013



123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"It's horrible but it's still Defeater!!! -- 3."

Guess I must have missed the part where I called this album "horrible".

Defeater is a great band, but this album undermines their potential.


Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2013



48528 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Defeater Letters Home
3
2013-07-13

Letlive. The Blackest Beautiful
5
2013-06-20

La Dispute Somewhere at the Bottom of the River...
4.5
2013-01-19

A Lot Like Birds Conversation Piece
4
2012-12-10

The Receiving End of Sirens Between the Heart and the Synapse
5
2012-11-19

Dance Gavin Dance Downtown Battle Mountain II
4.5
2012-08-16

and that tapout shirt as his profile pic and avatar oh my fucking god I will never stop laughing

Gwyn.
July 13th 2013



13971 Comments


Waiting for the jokes about this not being a 5 review from you after your ll. review to come up imma sit back

Gwyn.
July 13th 2013



13971 Comments


oh wait there it is

iChuckles
July 13th 2013



123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"and that tapout shirt as his profile pic and avatar oh my fucking god I will never stop laughing"

No, I'll just laugh at little keyboard warriors like you and find comfort in knowing what a shitty little human degenerate you are behind your computer screen.

You can fuck off now.




iChuckles
July 13th 2013



123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Double post.

Eclecticist
July 13th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

moar like iMad than iChuckles

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2013



48528 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"No, I'll just laugh at little keyboard warriors like you and find comfort in knowing what a shitty little human degenerate you are behind your computer screen.

You can fuck off now."

Should I be writing this down? Is it going to be important later?

iChuckles
July 13th 2013



123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Should I be writing this down? Is it going to be important later?"

No less important than the other shit you just wrote.

"moar like iMad than iChuckles"

Nah, just still amused by all the personal insults in regards to my t-shirt, cause' you know, none of these clowns would act like that outside of their trusty computer screen.




ZippaThaRippa
July 13th 2013



2356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Shit it's getting real up in here

SeaAnemone
July 13th 2013



18802 Comments


damn I'm sure sputnikkers are real scared of the skinny scene kid wearing a tapout tee lol

iChuckles
July 13th 2013



123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"damn I'm sure sputnikkers are real scared of the skinny scene kid wearing a tapout tee lol"

Thank you for representing the idiot village pool of Sputnik.

I thought Trebor had already done his share, but damn.

SeaAnemone
July 13th 2013



18802 Comments


iDeliverDevastatingInsults

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2013



48528 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"none of these clowns would act like that outside of their trusty computer screen."

Yeah cuz I'm not the kind of idiot that starts fights with people irl, I wouldn't be prepared without a tapout shirt anyway you know

Gwyn.
July 13th 2013



13971 Comments


iRcrying



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