Letter to the Exiles The Shadow Line

It's nice once in a while to hear an unabashedly generic metalcore record, if for no other reason than to reminisce about a time when "bree"-ing and faux-death metal vocals had yet to suck the life out of what little of metal's theatrics and grandiosity hardcore hadn't yet pillaged. Letter to the Exiles' sound is firmly entrenched in the melodeath end of things, with an expectedly frequent amount of breakdowns and occasional influences from some of the upper-crust of the scene, such as Misery Signals or Between the Buried and Me. Peaks come in the form of tracks such as the awkwardly titled "You're Not Going to Seduce Anyone," where the group's slightly by-the-numbers sound and blatantly religious lyrical content are offset somewhat by hearty helpings of mosh and above-average riff sequencing. While the occasional lick or transition doesn't take off, they thankfully steer clear of clean vocals or any blatant stabs at commercial viability, and come across a fair bit more genuine than many similar artists as a result. This doesn't excuse the album for its blandness, but it does explain why this is worth your time if you're really hurting to expand your Christian metalcore collection. (Strike First)