Album Review :
the Blue Letter/ The Gospel Is a Grenade - Splitsville
Artist: The Blue Letter/ The Gospel Is a Grenade
Label: Guevara Entertainment
Release Date: 2005
Review by: Eric Pettersson
The Blue Letter
1. There Is Only a Beginning
2. The Day the Sky Turned Black
3. Automaton Droids v2.0
4. A Killing Smile
5. Mechanical Legs, Mechanical Legs
6. Two Minute Hate
The Gospel Is a Grenade
7. Statement of Ethics
8. Fabrics on a Dress
9. Three Hours Lecture & Discussion per Week
10. Introduction to International Relations
11. The Following Benefits Are Also Provided For
Guevara Entertainment is a small indie label out of California trying to make a name for itself, with a current roster of 8 bands and a discography of 12 albums. One of those albums is Splitsville, which displays the talents of Guevara’s first two bands: The Blue Letter and The Gospel Is a Grenade.
The Blue Letter bring back the hardcore punk sound of Refused with an even more experimental twist, bringing in electronic sounds, and many melodic sections. The first track is an instrumental that could just as easily have been written by Sunny Day Real Estate or early The Juliana Theory. But as this instrumental blends into “The Day the Sky Turned Black” and the vocals begin, you know this is definitely not an emo album. The screams are long and fulfilling after the wait. There is a thick buzz effect on all of the vocals, and it fits their sound well, adding that extra bit of dissonance. Other programming and synthesizing is played around with for good pieces of the songs, but the hardcore punk feel is never lost or compromised.
The Gospel Is a Grenade are quite a different breed of hard music, bringing more of a grindcore feel to this release. They introduce themselves with “Statement of Ethics,” which is two minutes build-up, one minute anarchy. The songs only get crazier from then on. To try to explain this to the Tooth & Nail crowd, try imagining the dual vocals of Showbread’s first album, but only the high, unchanging screams and a tiny bit more raw. Now throw these vocals over The Chariot’s music, but with twice the chaos and half the bass. Don’t worry though, these songs are still focused, and the lyrics are mostly an outcry for the heart of God.
Since this record was first pressed, The Gospel Is a Grenade have broken up. The Blue Letter, on the other hand, have signed to Blood & Ink Records, which will hopefully get them some more exposure. Both bands gave a respectable effort, and The Blue Letter’s future progress will probably be one to admire.