Review Summary: Blessed By a Broken Heart complete their transformation
Having began their careers' back in 2004 with the dreadful "All is Fair in Love and War", Montreal based Myspace-Famous Blessed By a Broken Heart underwent a number of line up changes. All members of the initial line up departed (with exception of bassist Tyler Hoare) and in came a new generation of members with ideas of turning the band into a Nu Glam concept outfit. Back in the summer of 2008, Blessed began implementing this unprecedented change in their musical direction with the release of sophomore album "Pedal To The Metal".
Doused with syrupy keys and huge guitar solos, "Pedal To The Metal" added an enjoyable dose of the 1980’s into a metalcore melting pot. Three years on and their transformation from metalcore pretenders to full-blown glam worshippers is complete. Blessed’s third album “Feel The Power” brings all the fun and enthusiasm of their live show and more.
The metalcore backbone of old seems to have been relaxed for a more expansive sound in “Feel The Power”. In line with the band’s advances in instrumental proficiency the newer direction provides better opportunity to showcase these. In truth lead guitarist Sean Maier, aptly nicknamed ‘Shred Sean’ effortlessly reels off licks his counterparts could only dream of. As has been the case since Maier was brought into the band in 2007, he takes centre stage here and picks up a number of signature style, memorable leads such as that in the breakneck “Holdin’ Back For Nothin’”. This also happens to be one of the tracks where the screamed vocals of Tony Gambino can be heard. They are used far more sparingly this time around and help increase the intensity of the songs when they do appear. Vocally there is a big improvement from last time out both in timing and variety. Gambino’s cleans receive more air time thankfully and with the help of James Paul Wisner, Blessed have managed to recreate the same polished vocal overdubs that were first heard 25 years ago on Def Leppard’s hugely anticipated “Hysteria”. Bringing in new rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Sam ‘Ryder’ Robinson has added an extra element which has been excellently capitalised on in the production. His almost angelic backing vocals are multi tracked for number of the songs giving it the Hysteria esque feel particularly. Vocally, songs like “Scream It Like You Mean It” comfortably surpass ground covered in their previous material and takes me back to being a 13 year old hearing Journey for the first time.
Personally however, I find “Feel The Power” to be an album polarised by soaring highs and terrible lows. For all the highs spoken about and more, there is no excuse for “I’ve Got You”, a woeful attempt at rejuvenating the old power ballads some of us loved and others despised. The song comes across as derivative and lacking any sort of sincerity. Gambino's limitations are highlighted as he isnt able to hold together what is essentially a pop song, equally, lyrically it is impossible to listen to. Also for all the marvel ‘Shred Sean' brings, he often strays from soloing to total wankery, clocking in solos up to two minutes long in many songs. The elegant solos of “Carry On” have in some cases been replaced with technicality so fast and complex at times it loses the plot.
Ultimately, these criticisms don’t take away from a record that acts as a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, satisfying those of metalcore/pop leanings. Perhaps not a master of one trade but it does provide a superbly executed exhibit of 80’s worship.
Holdin’ Back For Nothin’
Scream It Like You Mean It