Genre: Hard Rock, Melodic Metal
Musical Style: Melodic Metal Produced By: JD Evans Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: USA Year Released: 2008 Artist Website: Letter 7 Tracks: 12 Rating: 95% Running Time: 48:52
Letter 7 is Christian Heavy Metal / Hard Rock /
Featuring hard edged guitars, solid driving bass and drums with powerful melodic vocals throughout.
The style reflects old school heavy metal the likes of Dokken, Loudness, Queensryche, Dio, Judas Priest, Bloodgood, Whitecross and Stryper with modern production including good hooks and clean lyrical content.
LETTER 7 - Follow The Light
01. In The Beginning - 1;58
02. Runnin' - 4:54
03. Nail In The Cross - 4:39
04. Follow The Light - 4:06
05. Send Me An Angel - 4:25
06. Mystery - 3:56
07. Lifeline - 4:20
08. Laodicea - 3:10
09. Prayer Warriors - 4:08
10. My Destiny - 5:01
11. Liar - 3:07
12. Love Covers It All - 5:03
Total playing time: 48:53
Quote:It is without a doubt that Stryper is the most popular and well known Christian band to come out of the melodic metal scene of the eighties. The era produced several other noteworthy “while metal” groups as well, including Barren Cross, Bloodgood, Bride, Guardian, Holy Soldier, Sacred Warrior, Saint and Whitecross- all of which signed a label deal and released at least two full length albums. Equally able – but featuring nowhere near the longevity – are the likes of Armageddon, Arsenal, Eternal Ryte and Rage Of Angels (“one hit wonders” that, after recording a strong debut offering, were never heard from again). The talent level of the time goes so deep that quality unsigned acts such as Soldier, Paradox and Apostle also deserve mention. At this point I find it necessary to stop and evaluate how the current eighties influenced melodic metal scene adds up. Well, while the shear volume of bands has dropped off somewhat, the level of ability has not, reflected in the polished sounds of Germany’s Mad Max and Ontario Canada’s hard rocking Unforsaken. Eden’s Way, a three piece unit out of Tennessee, must be noted for the melodic rock of its very fine 2006 independent release Rock Solid.
One band that warrants consideration with the genres best – both old AND new – is Phoenix, Arizona based Letter 7. Letter 7 got started in early 2007 by releasing its critically acclaimed debut Salt Of The Earth. The summer of 2008 finds the group presenting with its sophomore effort Follow The Light, another high quality work also charting the waters of melodic metal and hard rock territory. The key word here is “melodic” in that the album continues to showcase Letter 7’s penchant for composing a song with a solid chorus hook. This is best exhibited on up-tempo tracks “Runnin’” (great radio friendly feel on this one), “Follow The Light” (non-stop energy here) and “Laodicea” (a showstopper bordering on speed metal). Notable hooks are also delivered on the melodic based sounds of “Liar” and “Love Covers All” in addition to the top of the line ballad “Lifeline”. Mid-tempo numbers such as the moody “Send Me An Angel”, sublime “Prayer Warriors” and heavy duty “Nail In The Cross” prove memorable as well.
Similar to Salt Of The Earth, Follow The Light finds founding member JD Evans handling the majority of the instrumentation- including rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. How is that for versatility? In all seriousness, JD’s work on rhythm guitar – providing for some riffs that are fast and energetic and others heading in a slower and more driving direction – helps to make this the heavier effort when compared to Salt Of The Earth. Lead guitar wise,JD’s playing comes straight from the Rex Carroll (Whitecross) school of shredding (“Nail In The Cross”, “Follow The Light” and “Lifeline” display this best). Yes, the soloing here is that good and helps JD to rank with todays underrated guitar heroes.
While the departure of Tom Collete, who handled lead vocal duties on Salt Of The Earth, proved a disappointment, Letter 7 does not lose anything with newcomer Steve Young. If I were to invite a comparison between the two, Steve brings a bit more of a “high end” feel to his delivery while still exhibiting the same type of abundant range. The best way to describe his style might be a combination of Robert Valdes (Regime) and Jimi Bennett (King James) but with a touch of Jimmy Arceneaux (Soldier) or Rey Parra (Sacred Warrior) thrown in. Mostly staying in smooth sounding territory, Steve can hit a high note with ease (such as on “Follow The Light”) but can also reach down low and add a touch of grit to his delivery (as found on “Prayer Warriors).
Production values are professionally done, combining a near perfect mix of upfront rhythm guitar with fluidly placed lead guitar and a resounding low end.