Blessthefall

Hollow Bodies

Written by: BL on 17/08/2013 22:57:21

Blessthefall's return to the metalcore scene with their latest release "Hollow Bodies" brings a couple of notable changes on the table this time round. One being that the band have opted to work with Joey Sturgis instead of Michael Baskette who produced and mixed their last two albums and two, they've decided not to write the same album again (last effort "Awakening" was dubbed by many as "Witness pt.II", despite how solid it still was). The result is perhaps less organic more digital, but it's darker, more atmospheric, more deftly layered, and most of all, unnervingly aggressive and weighty - it's their hardest and fastest album yet.

"Exodus" starts with everything we've come to know about Blessthefall only supercharged - the breakdowns are heavier, the guitar harmonies are brighter, the choruses catchier and verses thrashier. There's also the trademark crescendo type outro again typical - but deliciously worked with melodies flowing off the walls. "Hollow Bodies" meanwhile is perhaps the most memorable Blessthefall song ever written. An explosive Lamb of God style opening riff, fiery machine gun guitars, speedy tapped lead guitars and ferocious screams from bassist Jared Warth play rivals against some soaring choruses from lead singer Beau Bokan. The appropriately named "Déjà Vu" may not be as devilish, but is still a pleasant trip down memory lane, strongly hinting at their 2009 effort "Witness" and showcasing some of the finest hooks on the album.

The stripped back "Buried In These Walls" feels surprising early - all the break neck momentum built up comes to a screeching halt. However the sparkling piano melodies and soft lingering instrumentals leave an endearing impression for an otherwise low key track. On "See You on the Outside", "Youngbloods" and "Carry On" Blessthefall seem to go on a spree of putting on a new mask with each successive song. The first one being something resembling a heavier Pierce The Veil - small rolling piano licks, eccentric punk guitars, and a noir power pop aesthetic. The second features riffs which very similar to "Breathe Life" by Killswitch Engage but is also graced by a superb guest spot from Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns - probably the heaviest song to be found and a real head-banger. The last one finally being an exercise on how to metalcore like the best of them, August Burns Red style with ultra precision guitar riffing and even a cameo from the August Burns Red lead vocalist Jake Luhrs. Of course it's all done in good taste, and it helps if you happen to enjoy all of those bands.

Rounding off the album we find two songs that are perhaps the only places where I have albeit very minor gripes. "The Sound of Starting Over" is anthemic and undeniably catchy, but some of Beau's melodies shift so jarringly high pitched that I wonder how they are meant to be sung live. "Open Water" on the other hand is actually quite a heart-warming send off, featuring a guest from Lights who steals the show with her seductively intimate voice - but the song drags its heels perhaps a bit too much afterwards, and I was expecting the pay off to have been more epic which would have just sealed the deal.

"Hollow Bodies" is invigoratingly ambitious and a calculated, breathless assault of all things metalcore. Lyrically, there's not that much diversity - mostly exploring relationships of love and collapse, but it's uplifting even in their darkest moments. And ultimately while we aren't witnessing anything new musically, the production is tight, the songs are superbly rounded for the most part, there's plenty of variety and every track has something worthy of value in it's own right. This is definitely without a doubt, well, Blessthefall's most definitive release yet.

Download: Exodus, Hollow Bodies, Youngbloods
For the fans of: The Word Alive, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red
Listen:Facebook

Release date 20.08.2013
Fearless Records


Head over to billboard.com to hear the entire album stream.

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