Letter to the Exiles – Make Amends

By Brody B on August-13-2012 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , , , | Share

Letter to the Exiles – Make Amends
Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/53
3.8 (12 votes)

Band: Letter to the Exiles
Album: Make Amends
Label: Facedown Records
Release: 8/14/12
Reviewer: Brody B

Tracklisting:

  1. Open Graves
  2. Conversations With Fallen Saints
  3. Retribution
  4. They Made Me Their War Machine
  5. Thieves
  6. A World Of Wicked Men
  7. The Violence Of Our Kind
  8. Transcendence
  9. The Greater Hands Of Lesser Sons
  10. Make Amends

It’s been two years since Letter to the Exiles released their debut album on Strike First Records, and to be honest, I had almost completely forgot about them. The aforementioned record, The Shadow Line, was by no means a bad record, just a smaller record that slipped through the cracks. In fact, it had enough good songs to get me excited to see what these face-melting fellas had cooked up for listeners to enjoy upon getting the email about reviewing the new record, Make Amends.

Make Amends starts off with “Open Graves”, a track that doesn’t take much time before kicking in your teeth with a crushing breakdown behind new vocalist, Chris King’s passionate growling. However, the first thing to really grab my attention was guitarist Mark Randazzo and the intricate riffs he effortlessly slips into the mix. Once I heard this, I knew Letter to the Exiles was more than standard fare in the metalcore scene. “Conversations With Fallen Saints” is the first song where Randazzo unleashes his beautifully powerful pipes. Imagine a combination of Matt Goud (Means) and Stephen Cobucci (Wolves at the Gate), which simply cannot get better. “Conversations With Fallen Saints” also features guest vocals from War Of Age’s very own Leroy Hamp. Hearing the powerful growling of Hamp and King trading off is jaw dropping. “Retribution” shows the band not only has talent to pummel the listeners’ eardrums with distortion, but also to flex their ambient muscles during the bridge. This is right before King induces goosebumps on the listener as he shrieks, “Oh how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”. My favorite track on the album is “They Made Me Their War Machine”. This song is musically all over the place, from straight forward metalcore moments to death metal influence, and will keep the listener interested throughout the duration. “Thieves” has some of the most impressive breakdowns on the record, mixing up the formula of just chugging and adding in some light picking or tapping to add to the complexity.

Throwing a wrench into the works, “A World Of Wicked Men” softly appears. Primarily a bass and drum track with light guitar, “A World Of Wicked Men” is much different than any other track on the album, and offers a welcomed change of pace. King also takes a backseat to Randazzo in this track, doing vocals in the background rather than being in the forefront.

It was after “A World Of Wicked Men” that I became somewhat disappointed with the album. I felt that skill in songwriting and musicianship dropped tremendously. The songs after that point all seemed to run together and seem bland with no particular moment that jumped out at me. I wasn’t noticing any of the interesting guitar runs that had caught my attention so much earlier in the album. On top of that, vocalist Chris King’s voice began to really lack variety, causing the songs to somewhat drag on. With all the talent Letter to the Exiles possess, I expected nothing less than an epic closing track, but instead was let down by the somewhat lackluster, “Make Amends”. Another minor flaw that stood out to me was the production. While there was nothing apparently wrong with it, I felt it could have been beefed up a bit with more bass tones as opposed to treble to make for a more crushing sound.

Overall: Letter to the Exiles delivers very solid metalcore that can both pulverize listeners with crushing breakdowns or leave listeners scratching their heads at the technicality brought forth. This is a CD I know many listeners will find themselves loving, as it provides a little something for every fan of metal. All the issues I found with the record aside, Letter to the Exiles proves they are a band I should never forget again.

RIYL: War Of Ages, Life in Your Way, Means

Letter to the Exiles - Make Amends, 3.8 out of 5 based on 12 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Brody B

About the author Brody B

I am a 22 year old front end web developer by day and a youth leader, aspiring skateboarder, bass player extraordinaire, and Subaru fanboy by night. View all posts by Brody B

21 Responses to 'Letter to the Exiles – Make Amends'

  1. I agree wit the review, 4 the most part, but not the scor. All of ther releases hav been 4s 4 me. Hily undarated band, so i hope they get mor atention wit this release. I hope sumbody on here duz an intaview soon wit these cats, but it apears thers no hard feelins between eric+ the band, considerin he makes a vocal apearence on “the greata hands of lesa sons”, wich was awesum.

    • Brody B says:

      I agree Phil, such an underrated band. The first half of this was great in my opinion, so I’m hoping their next release will be more consistent the whole way through. Regardless this release certainly got me stoked to see what they have to offer next.

    • metalhunter says:

      Havn’t gotten my pre-order yet. But Barto makes an appearance? How are his vocals mixed? I know it sounds weird but the mixes on the last LTTE cds the vocal mixes were lacking. I would if his voice can come out more, like when he was Alove for Emenies.

  2. Mark K says:

    I actually like the second half better than the first, The Greater Hands of Lesser Sons and the title track being my two favorites alongside A World of Wicked Men. The Greater Hands has a fantastic, tight-riffed speed metal sound in places that the sharp guitar sound really enhances. Good record that I’d give an extra star beyond the review. I see it as being really consistent even if the clean vocals sound a bit much like your regular radio fare. I’m pretty happy with it.

  3. Luke Foster says:

    Very standard facedown release, but very enjoyable nonetheless

  4. Kyle says:

    Couple things destroy this reviewers credibility- A.) the singing starts on the first track of the album Open Graves (epic singing towards the end, one of the best of he album), not Conversations with Fallen Saints. So that point plain isn’t true. B.) the amount of misspelling and typos in his article proves its an unprofessional critic, most likely an unintelligent high schooler giving this “review” so they’re opinion isn’t too credible…also, the guitar riffs of you listen on the last two tracks are actually some of the most technical of the WHOLE album and as a guitarist I can tell by listening. This album is really good start to finish…5/5 rating

    • Luke Foster says:

      Unintelligent high schooler? You may not agree with the review, but that is an unfair statement. Ivm may not have the most professional music reviews around, but this was a solid review nonetheless.

    • Brody B says:

      A.) I never said it was the first time he sung, just the first time it really impressed me. (Sorry I misled you there) B.) You probably should not attack someone for spelling when there is a plank in your own eye ;)

      I’m not trying to make this into a big ordeal, I’m just asking that you not personally attack me or any other staffer here. We don’t get paid. This is very time consuming and we only do it because we love it. Make this about the music, not about the reviewer and how much you disagree with them.

      I’m truly glad you liked this release so much. It is a good release, so even if I don’t like it as much as you, we can both agree that these guys have some serious talent.

  5. MrM says:

    Reviews are simply opinions, I’d happily read a three sentence review highlighting favourite moments, as I would happily read a thousand word track-by-track review delving into every detail. Unintelligent high schoolers have opinions too! I think IVM has consistently solid reviews :)

    Just can’t get into them though, I bought The Shadow Line after reading a few positive reviews on it, but was unfortunately disappointed. After listening to a couple songs on YouTube, I still don’t think I’m going to buy it, just not feeling it, unfortunately

  6. Boaz says:

    Go see them live they are sooo good and such solid dudes.

  7. Travis Aker says:

    What I have listen to online its sound like a pretty solid album to me. I am probably going to ahead and get it at Family Christian Bookstore. Overall I would give it 3 1/2 they do have more potential as a band. I think they will improve and shock a lot of people on their next album though.

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