Review Summary: This is as good as it gets.
There aren't many bands left from the crossover period in which post hardcore and metalcore had its disgusting child labeled as "scenecore" or "risecore". Blessthefall is one of them, and like all bands have made quite a few changes from their opening years with renown vocalist Craig Mabbitt. His Last Walk and Witness were different in a way that Blessthefall took to a less angsty post-hardcore approach, befriending the brand of metalcore that has been made so popular today by their cohorts on the high end of the genre. What Blessthefall has done so well to sustain their success lies within the skill of each member to create an original sound that has become so rare. Hollow Bodies builds itself distinctively on Awakening, and gives listeners the best they can expect from a band caught up in the middle of such a horrible time period for metalcore.
The backbone of any good metalcore group today is a supporting cast that, instead of rallying behind a talented lead guitarist, takes control and does not let the rhythm overpower nor be overpowered by the lead. This is what Blessthefall has done so well in their newest record, and having a guy who can put together songs that sound like his band and not his genre is a huge booster. Vocalists Beau Bokan and Jared Warth have always had some sort of a medium for lead vocals, some songs being a majority of screaming and others with Bokan alone at the helm. Hollow Bodies continues this trend but this time Bokan has a certain tact to his voice that he hadn't found in Witness and was learning in Awakening. One of the two songs that Bokan has to himself, "See You on the Outside", happens to be the standout track on the record with a chaotic rock element about it and a fun song structure. Warth's screams are very talented, but in his genre he is more disposable than a good singer so relief pitching from Jesse Barnett and Jake Luhrs make for a refreshing taste in the later half of the album.
So at the end of Hollow Bodies the question remains, where do they go from here? The answer is nowhere. This is just about the most they can do at this point, seeing as they haven't made drastic sound changes like some others within the genre who do so to either attract a different fanbase, abandon the semi-mainstream for mainstream, or to play what they had always wanted to as kids. Blessthefall, it seems, is content at the peak of its own genre, where their subjects will stumble upon themselves in struggle to maintain a consistent sound like Blessthefall has done so well. Because no matter how hard they try, the rest cannot combine riffs and the chug/chord formula and make it sound good like BTF has.
Suggested songs: See You on the Outside, Youngbloods, The Sound of Starting Over