Album Review: Letters From The Fire – Worth The Pain


Letters From The Fire is a band that brings something new to the table while wearing their influences on their sleeves, and while those may be cliched expressions, they prove to be true in this case – drawing comparisons to other female-fronted rock bands such as Evanescence and Paramore, the band lives up to that role while adding their own undeniable personal touch. Formed in 2012 by guitarist Mike Keller, the Bay Area band has undergone a few lineup changes, but upon settling in to one fronted by singer Alexa Kabazie, they recently headed into the studio to record their first full-length album, Worth The Pain. This album was produced by Failure Anthem guitarist Kile Odell and is set to be released on September 9th via Sand Hill Records.

Worth The Pain hits hard and heavy right from the start, planting roots in a modern hard rock sound with the opening track “Perfect Life”, a sound that holds strong through “Mother Misery” and carries over to “Live A Lie”. “Give In To Me”, one of the album’s singles, steps into the dark side accompanied by an equally dark and disturbing music video, all the while bringing in enough electronic ambiance to feel like an industrial track; but with each chorus, the album’s overall heavy guitar-driven rock is reaffirmed. “Last December” takes all of these elements to the next level, with a synthesized riff starting out the song as electronic sounds permeate the track, but “Holy Ghost” ensures you don’t forget that what you’re listening to is a rock record through and through.

The title track “Worth The Pain” keeps up with some of the electronic sounds introduced earlier in the record, but if those effects were to be stripped away, the track feels like a classic heavy metal song at its core. That touch of the classic also slips subtly into “Control”, but the album closer “One Foot In The Grave” replants those modern hard rock roots, while songs like “Scars” and “My Angel” are where influences of the Pop Rock persuasion show through stronger than ever.

Worth The Pain does have a softer side, which emerges on songs like “Bruised”, a sudden departure from the path of the first three tracks that sits at an intersection between Pop and Alt. Rock, and “At War”, where a gentle piano and melancholy lyrics lead the track to stand out from the rest as it forms a contemporary ballad emphasizing Alexa Kabazie’s strong vocals. Alongside Kabazie, Mike Keller and Cameron Stucky share the guitar duties well, and as the group is rounded out by bassist Clayton Wages and drummer Brian Sumwalt, who lay down grooves worthy of a closer listen, the lineup of Letters From The Fire makes for one solid hard rock band.

Melodic and powerful, modern and accessible, with a classic heavy rock feel occasionally making itself known. A sense of darkness lies within Worth The Pain – in the lyrics, the riffs, even the effects – yet it has enough of a groove to get you pumped and moving, and most songs are catchy enough to get stuck in your head (I know they’ve been in mine since I first heard the album). There’s a strong energy pushing forward, even through the ballads, and anytime things slow down, it doesn’t last for too long as the record kicks up and heads back to its former heaviness. Worth The Pain is an excellent album all around, showcasing the band’s talents. Letters From The Fire has a great potential to break out even further and be the next big thing on the modern rock scene.

Rating: 5/5

Letters From The Fire is currently on the road with Art of Dying and Children 18:3. For more on Letters From The Fire, including upcoming tour dates, head to their official website at http://lettersfromthefire.net/

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