Review Summary: Blessthefall's second studio release is surprising, a vast improvement over their previous record.
When a major label band loses their singer, it's a very big deal. Sometimes, that loss can be the downfall of the entire band, leading to their breakup. In most cases though, another singer is found and depending on the circumstances, can come back weaker or stronger on their new music. When Craig Mabbit departed from Blessthefall after recording their first album, His Last Walk, the band's bassist took over all vocal duties. Managing to play bass, sing and scream all at the same time during live performances. This didnt last to long though, as they found Beau Bokan, which was a miracle for the band. With a new singer, a new approach and new ideas, Blessthefall's second studio release, Witness, is a stronger more appreciative album then their last.
There are no real stand out differences in the band's sound, besides the vocalist change. Beau only manages to sing though, as the bassist continues to do all the screams for the band. This album's got a little bit of everything to keep it's listener interested. The choruses are catchy and the heavy sections are heavy, a perfect balance of sound. Witness opens with '2.0', a one minute intro to the album which screams, "no were not dead, were not like you said" leading into a great breakdown. Right away we can tell that the new Blessthefall is bigger and trying to prove a point to all that doubted them in their time of weakness. The intro leads right into 'What's Left of Me', which is the first single off of the album.
This is a great song to start the album with just because it prepares you for what's to come. We get crazy screams, a semi catchy chorus and a pretty heavy breakdown here and there. Beau stands out so much while listening to this song, he's got a great range when it comes to going from high's to low's and it fits right in with the music itself. 'To Hell and Back' is one of my personal favorite songs from the album, mainly because of the highly noticeable guitar riff in the opening and the chorus. To my opinion, the chorus in this song is one of the catchiest off the album, and it's set up perfectly to. Another thing which was done well in this song was the use of duel vocals, having the singing over the screams. They switch back and forth between verse lines and it sounds really good.
'Hey Baby, Here's That Song You Wanted' shows more of Beau's personal song writing ability. It's obviously a rough break up song, but it's one of the very few in the album. The guitars have some very nice riff's throughout and Beau does an absoulutely amazing job in the chorus, where he hits some pretty amazing high pitches. 'Witness' is one of the more average songs that come up through the album, besides the opening breakdown, there's nothing about this song that stands out or even distinguishes it from other songs from the album. 'Last One's Left' is a song about the band, as the chorus sings, "if were going down, we all come down together, and thats the way it is", a song about brotherhood and Beau's fellow band mates. It's a short song, but really well done. It's cool how the verses are over breakdowns and then the chorus manages to be very catchy.
I really have to say that while the bass almost doesnt exist in this album, it seems the guitars got a lot of attention this time around. They do something new and creative in almost every song and this shows that the band wants to focus on every part of the music. They've worked on breakdowns as well, in 'FiveNinety' were gifted to an extremely well breakdown during the last half of the song, and the breakdowns scattered through the rest of the album are, at times, pretty well done. The ending song of the album, 'Stay Still', begins off slow as we begin to think this may be the average ballet ending song, but then it completely throws us off guard, making for a entertaining and satisfying closing track.
Overall, I choose Witness over His Last Walk any day. The recording is solid and the band has showed maturity with the entrance of their new vocalist. Songwriting ability has increased and the band payed alot more attention to the little details to create a very satisfying second studio album. Though some of the songs on the album sound the same as others, most of the tracks do a great job and major Blessthefall fans will be pleased, because I know I was.