Review Summary: More thankfully rid of Craig Mabbitt than ever: Awakening by Blessthefall.7 of 7 thought this review was well written
After hearing Witness, I became instantly curious if Blessthefall could become a force worth reckoning (since Craig Mabbitt is about as threatening as a rabbit). Awakening would be the determining factor to quench my inquiry. 3 tracks had been released prior to the official release of this 3rd effort, and each was quite notable to me. They utilize elements outlandish to their genre, while still maintaining the sound that the scenie weenies will fanboy over. Awakening is a lot faster, and the vocals sounding more focused than ever. Each song seems to hold it's own purpose, which is an unchanged quality for Blessthefall that i've always loved. They suffer some of the same downfalls that all post-hardcore acts share, but gain some ground on their peers with a professional sounding record. One Chris Dudley of Underoath
assisted the band on their synthetic outfit, which created an awesome presence for each song. Personally, I think Dudley is the prodigy keyboardist for the genre, and did exactly as he should. The producer, Elvis Baskette was a good choice for the quintet as each instrument (yes, including the bass) is audible.
The song outfit is usual, with speedy verses and breakdowns as well as melodic sections and catchy choruses. It has a few tasty parts scattered throughout the record that are unexpected, but don't really stand out all that well. The record begins with sub-two minute opener including the chorus in "Promised Ones" in pieces, followed by Promised Ones itself. This song present a heavy feel, and is bound to be a fan favorite. It has a contagious pre-chorus breakdown and powerful chorus to follow. It sets the theme for the majority of the rest album, as well as an unexpected solo. 40 Days sounds like the radio-fodder of the album and is damn well deserving, it's lighter than usual BTF but has presence like a heavier song would. Each song has it's commendable parts, but mostly they sound too familiar to one another save some. Bones Crew is a nice track and probably the lightest on the album, the listener will definitely not expect this song to exist on first listen. 'Till the Death Of Me is my favorite guitar track on the record, and even has it's own mini interlude to boot. You'll find the band is clever enough to have some nice chews to swallow in all the right places so that you don't suffocate on the gamey filler, but it leaves a mixed taste in your mouth.
The vocals sound improved, but not quite a wider range of screams or singing by either vocalist. Beau Bokan sounds much more comfortable than he did in Witness and Warth barks his commands with a recognizable talent. Both sound more focused on their work, and get a decent grade. The guitars are the key player for Awakening, and finally give us some of the talent we knew we could find in this band. The breakdowns are hard and effective, and sometimes intriguingly unconventional. The bass is also pretty nice, playing it's part as it should and audibly which is always fun in a post hardcore record. The drums have really picked up, with intricate fills and a commanding kick performance.
We all knew after Escape The Fate's third album that any question of who would seem better off after Mabbitt's departure from BTF that Blessthefall would be better without a check for this particular release (see the mention rabbit). But unfortunately as long as Escape The Fate sells out much much faster than Blessthefall, the band won't reach a new kind of peak within their genre. But you could say much more the same for The Word Alive. The album is more than decent, even though it won't sell to the band's critics. What post hardcore act would sell to it's critics? With that question I digress. Filler will be the one to show that the band still needs work, and vocals need more surprise. Awakening is nothing unheard of at all, and for that: Blessthefall, we hereby award you the Certificate of Recognition.
- A very tight work by the band
- Awesome breakdowns
- Capable guitars
- Purposeful songs
- Improved but not innovative vocals
- Great, but not memorable
Recommended Tracks: Promised Ones, Bottomfeeder, 40 Days, Bones Crew, & 'Till the Death of Me