Review Summary: Blessthefall, now with 50% more chugga-loca.3.25/5
Blessthefall has always been a band that’s been-there, you know, they’re incredibly generic (br00tal level of generic) but they’ve always been able to do generic better than their contemporaries; that’s not to say they can’t get annoying, because oh my, they can, but their albums are generally a good ride.
So, what’s up with their newest album? You might ask yourself, and the answer is, metalcore. Ever since their start Blessthefall has been part of scenecore crowd, however, they’ve always leaned more towards the post-hardcore side of stuff than the metalcore dark side. With their latest album though, they pull a switcheroo and channel their inner TDWP we all carry in our hearts with a breakdown-laced album, annoying electronica sounds and all.
The backbone of any kind of scenecore album these days is a good screamer, and Jared Wrath certainly stands up to this role. Very much alike his peer Caleb Shomo, he doesn’t have much range on his outcries, employing a mid-range scream 90% of the time. Quite a killer scream, but it could get repetitive for some people. Thanks to these insane pipes, Hollow Bodies
rises above most of the crowd, but alas, he isn’t the single vocalist of this band. Beau Bokan, clean singer of this band, can be simply described as annoying. During about half of the album he channels his inner Ozzmosis, singing at near-chipmunk level of whininess despite being 32 years old and all. That not to say his cleans can’t be enjoyable as exemplified in the slow ballad Buried in These Walls
or the Pierce the Veil-esque See You on the Outside
, but he suffers from the same problem as the aforementioned Black Sabbath singer or Wrath, requiring way more range.
The lyricism hasn’t improved much, remaining decent through with the exception of few cringe-worthy moments like overly-enthusiastic “Take your life in a new direction!” in Standing on the Ashes
or the entirety of the lead single You Wear a Crown but You’re No King
And while the backbone of any good album might be the vocals, no instrumentation is left behind, and this very same instrumentation is what rescues the album. Blessthefall have always been a little better at playing their instruments than their peers, and while there aren’t solos to show off the respective skills of each member, they remain strong through the whole album, breakdowns and all.
Oh yeah, the breakdowns. While the overuse of breakdowns is quite annoying on the whole genre, they're employed to great effect here. Particular stand-outs include the near entirety of the track Youngbloods
, featuring a manic opening and never letting go, with a headbangin’ appearance by Jake ‘I-look-40-and-bald-even-though-I'm-barely-30’ Luhrs from August Burns Red, the huge gang-shout-laced breakdown that dominates the last third of Standing on the Ashes
and the several ones in Carry On
; such a pity this track is nearly ruined by Beau Bokan.
All in all, Blessthefall have created an incredibly predictable album. It won’t silence the naysayers, won’t do anything to add or remove critics of this band and it will please any fan of them or the “scene” in general. The production by Mr. Generic Sturgis is questionable (especially those electronica sounds) and Mr. Bokan needs a few singing lessons, but thankfully this release is saved by solid instrumentation, great screaming and a few features.