Customer Reviews: Hanging On By A Thread
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on May 10, 2010
I had the chance to see The Letter Black (along with RED) in support of Skillet's "Awake and Alive" tour. I saw them live about a week before this album came out.

I have to say I'm impressed with this debut album's vocal style and crunching riffs. The opening track is a face-pounding aggressor that comes firing out of both barrels and will leave the listener gasping for breath as the song segues into track 2. It's along a similar vein as Flyleaf or Fireflight (a powerful rock band fronted by a female vocalist), though The Letter Black has their own style which sets them apart from either of those bands.

There really isn't a weak track on this album. Each song complements all the others and adds to the album in its own way.

The use of strings is comparable to Skillet or RED, and the range on this album is worth mentioning as well; while the album is anchored by aggressive rockers such as "All I Want", there are a couple relatively lighter songs like "There'll Come a Day" or "More to This." (The guitar work on "More to This" also deserves a nod.)

Standouts (for me) are "Believe," "Moving On," "All I Want" and the title track, "Hanging On By a Thread" - though as previously mentioned, the whole album is great. "Hanging On By a Thread" is a great song, a plea for God to help keep the speaker hanging on and keep the speaker from losing themselves, "All I Want" is a great pounding song about how all God wants is for us to keep believing in Him - whether things are going our way or the world is crashing around us. Sarah Armstrong's vocal range on "Believe" is quite diverse, and in a sense rivals Dawn Richardson's from Fireflight on the song "Unbreakable".

If there is a weakness on this first effort, some of the songs are a tad redundant (I don't know how many times they sing the chorus on "Fire with Fire", and the last minute or so of "Invisible" is essentially the chorus repeated over and over) but it's not redundant to the point of being annoying.

I look forward to hearing more from this talented young band in the future. A solid debut such as this is usually the mark of a strong band and a successful career - case in point, Led Zeppelin and Boston: both bands had incredible debut albums, and remarkably solid careers.

The album closes just like it begins - a growling rocker that instantly sucks the listener in. When the last song ends, the only disappointment is that there aren't any more songs.

I definitely recommend this album to fans of Skillet, RED, Flyleaf, Fireflight, or just fans of music.
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on February 21, 2011
The Letter Black is led by strong female vocals by Sarah Anthony and with backing vocals of husband Mark Anthony. Their work on this album features good rhythm and bass lines, and leans toward chord-driven electric guitar work. Musically, these are good rocking tunes, even if it doesn't stretch one's musical imagination much.

"Fire With Fire" is the opening song on the album. It is good, but one of the weaker tracks on a very good album in my view. The title track is a very good, straight-forward rock song. "Believe" is driving rock into flowing refrain with a message of faith. As a song "I'm Just Fine" really grabs me. "Best of Me" is an excellent track has gotten some air play in my area.

The Letter Black is a Christian band that remembered to write a Christian message into much of its lyrics. The band claims musical influences like Sevendust, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Linkin Park, Red and Disciple. I would agree that The Letter Black belongs in that company. I heard this group in concert with Skillet and Decyfer Down. Black Letter put on a pretty good and good-sounding show. People who like the bands with front women such as Fire Flight, Inhabited and even Flyleaf should like this band, though thankfully Sarah of The Letter Black does not give us the shrieking, tone-deaf vocals we regularly hear in Flyleaf.

I will grade this album high not so much because it is the greatest album I have ever heard, though it is a very good and well-produced album. It is a very good work with rockin', enjoyable music from top to bottom.
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on May 17, 2010
Just ran across this as a suggestion from Amazon while I was browsing for music. This is a really good album. I only listened to the first 3 song samples, and decided it was worth a complete download. Its got hard guitar riffs and some power drum beats. Very clean sound and well recorded. If you like Fireflight, Paramore, Halestorm, We are the Fallen, Evanescence, etc., you're gonna want this....and maybe even like it better than those. ha...Im listening to it while writing this, and it really kicks some butt..this girl does some background screamin too
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on May 4, 2010
I just recently stumbled upon The Letter Black and I have to say that I'm hooked. I noticed they had a new album coming out so I decided to wait for that before I made a final decision on what I thought of them. I've only given the album one listen through so far, but so far so good. Sarah has some excellent vocals on this one and delivers song after song!
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on December 8, 2010
Being a musician for over 30 years, I am going to have to say that these guys (and gal) definitely have a future in music. We've got a husband and wife duo, Sarah and Mark Anthony, accompanied by a tight rhythm section in Matt Beal on bass and a mixture of Kirke Jan, Mat Slagle, and Brian Vondinh on drums, rounding out the line-up.

Another reviewer here alluded to the fact, in not so many words, that even though the band is billed as being a Christian Hard Rock band, that there appear to be some non-Christian, break-up-type songs here. Well, yes, there are some secular songs here, but even Amy Grant had some secular songs on her albums, so ease up, ace. Regardless of secular content, this album has some excellent riffing (a lot like Disturbed's first four albums) with perfect utilization of Drop-D tuning and superb vocals. The ONLY problem this album has, and a BIG one it is, is the lack of guitar solos. I believe only one song, "My Disease," has a notable solo.

If any of the members of "The Letter Black" are reading this review, you may want to let Mark know that stylish guitar solos are a thing of the past, and if he would incorporate this into the songs, "The Letter Black" will rocket to the top in the Christian Hard Rock genre. Let me tell you, there is nothing more exciting to a new Christian than seeing someone who can play lead guitar like they do in some of the old secular bands out there. Exceptional lead guitarists are an awesome thing of the past that needs, desperately, to be revived. It adds 100% adrenalin to your live show. And I know Mark can do it, the solo on "My Disease" is evidence to that. If he would rather stick to his role as front rhythm guitar and backing vocalist, and you could use an excellent, Christian lead guitarist, who can do anything from shredding with the likes of John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert to performing lick-laden, bluesy-type, acoustic-style leads along with providing any and all back-up rhythm guitar applications, background and lead vocals, and mandolin (if you want to expand your horizons), let me know...I'm an ex-praise and worship leader of the 90's and early 2000's, who played lead guitar and lead vocals in high-voltage, secular, metal bands throughout the 80's in the California circuit. I'm available for recruitment into a dedicated position!
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on October 20, 2011
This is a great album from a great band. Sarah's voice is simply intoxicating, in a similar vein as Evanesence's Amy Lee. Sarah has a unique vocal quality. She seems to hit two notes at once throughout every syllable she sings. The only other person I've heard with this vocal quality is Chester Bennington from Linkin Park.

Almost all of the songs on this album are strong, with heavy riffs and strong backing vocals from Sarah's husband Mark.

I won't touch on the song subject matter because that's been done in other reviews.

The only song I don't like is More to This. The lyrics are extremely weak and seem to just be thrown together without much thought.

All in all this is a great album worth downloading.
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on November 5, 2014
Very well pleased with all aspects of the purchase, and the item itself. The seller listed the product correctly, and shipped without incident. I would use this seller again in the future. I hope this helps out.
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on November 28, 2013
not as good as their second, but still pretty friggin awesome. these guys (and girl) are a pretty new band with a solid goth sound. they're right in the same sub-genre as evanescence and flyleaf, ethereal lead singer with heavy everything else.
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on January 7, 2013
This is my first exposure to The Letter Black, and I'm pretty satisfied with what I've found. This is an enjoyable listen, and there seems to be something missing. Maybe there isn't enough variety in the album for me. I haven't put my finger on it. That said, I've listened to it a number of times, and I'm really enjoying it.
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on May 28, 2010
Wow. Nice work on the part of TLB. Sarah's vocals definitely seem to improve since Breaking the Silence-EP. And her husband is an excelent counter as backup, balancing her sweet, young girl voice with deeper, gruffer vocals. This is a growing artist. I was hesitant about checking this out, as I almost felt as though I was hearing kind of pop rock with Breaking the Silence. This is much stronger. Great hard rock band. We need more out there like this.
Good female-fronted rock bands worth seeing if you like this: Scarlet Sins, Half the World, Siva Addiction, A.D.D., Litany for the Departed (SS and LOFT split but reforming under other names).
Tooth and Nail is TLB's next release, from what I have heard.
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