Review Summary: Hard feelings, harder to listen to
Blessthefall have always been a band struggling with their identity. There was an awkward transition when their original frontman Craig Mabbitt left shortly after completing their first album His Last Walk.
Blessthefall entered a state of limbo - unable to decide whether they should be fronted by a singer or screamer - until they filled the vocalist vacuum, introducing new clean singer Beau Bokan for the recording of their second album Witness.
Blessthefall started off as an emo-tinged post-hardcore outfit, but it was an identity the band never quite fit into, as they flirted with As I Lay Dying rip off riffs on Awakening,
and eventually graduating to ripping off The Devil Wears Prada’s anthemic metalcore sound on To Those Left Behind. Hard Feelings
is a mix between all these, with some Saosin and Bring Me The Horizon worship thrown in for good measure. Here we are, six albums deep, and I’m still having a hard time committing to what Blessthefall sounds like exactly.
Blessthefall’s main downfall is their inability to write compelling vocal melodies. That and they’re stuck in an artistically bankrupt genre. Beau doesn’t have much range and his vocals are way overproduced, yet he dominates the mix, despite the fact that none of his vocal melodies stand plays second fiddle, and it’s a shame because his voice is powerful, and his parts are the most memorable thing about the album despite being few and far between. The music itself doesn’t inspire much either. Most songs have unnecessary electronic elements, or oddly timed breakdowns that feel random, ill-timed, and forced, or both. There's a part in the opener where it glitches out and sounds like the file is fucked up for no apparent reason as if the band has no faith in their own songwriting. Strip away this crap and maybe the music would be less memorable, but it would also be less annoying. It’s fair to wonder how much fuel is left in the tank after five bad albums in a row. Blessthefall’s debut record His Last Walk
was a catchy and fun popcore album, but they’ve done have done nothing to build on that sound since. Sure Craig Mabbitt sang out of tune and the guitarwork was derivative, but songs like Rise Up
and Black Rose Dying
are bubbly and catchy, with just enough edge to satisfy core fans. Hard Feelings
is just so sterile, so overproduced - the drums sound fake and the music sounds phoned in. Perhaps they could pull it all together - ditch the clean singing, tone down the electronic crap and the breakdowns, and focus on writing tight riff-based songs. Stranger things have happened, but it’s a safe bet to call Blessthefall dead and buried.