Blessthefall are one of those bands that I’ve heard a lot about but never actually heard, so I decided to sit down and devote some time to the stream of their newest album, and I’m glad I did, because ‘Hollow Bodies’ is one of the better heavy albums I’ve heard this year – for the most part.
‘Hollow Bodies’ is a 46 minute beast of gritty metalcore, making good use of electronic influences in a way akin to ‘There Is A Hell…’ By Bring Me The Horizon. It works well as a whole, and it’s lower points are overshadowed by the driving force that gives the record it’s momentum. Songs such as ‘You Wear A Crown, But You’re No King’ are ferocious and visceral, with unclean vocalist Jared Warth excelling, as he does for the majority of ‘Hollow Bodies’. I wasn’t as impressed with Bokan’s vocals, which match the conventional soaring cleans of the genres best, but sometimes come across as nasally and whiny, like on the track ‘Buried In The Walls’. His delivery definitely isn’t bad but at times it’s similar to Kellin Quinn’s (of Sleeping With Sirens fame) and occasionally cliche lyrics don’t help. His vocals do provide hooks and give the choruses the highs that they aspire to meet, and they serve their purpose, but the uncleans are the highlight here, shifting from guttural roars to venomous ferocity. The mix of two different deliveries does make for an interesting and entertaining listen, providing variety. The addition of guest vocals work well, with each artist contributing in some way; most notably Lights (Bokan’s wife) who shines on the albums intense closer ‘Open Water’. Aside from the vocals, instrumentals are excellent, specifically the sonic drumming that defines many of the albums more crushing moments. Choruses soar, with Bokan delivering over a sea of controlled noise, whilst thundering guitars complement the heavy verses. The lyrics at times were forgettable, especially on ‘Carry On’, but the real craftsmanship and delivery of the songs detract from lyrical cliches and sometimes poor storytelling.
There’s no denying that Blessthefall have a certain knack for writing catchy and heavy songs, with tech based intros exploding into riffs and breakdowns, before adding vocals and other layers. The album follows a certain formula, but it works, despite being generic at times. Songs are memorable and effective, especially ‘Deja Vu’, which incorporates lots of different elements to compile a savage and varied song which I feel is personally the albums best. Other highlights include opener ‘Exodus’ which makes superb use of the contrasting vocals, and the title track with its staggering chorus and gang vocals. At times the mix of sounds and styles can be overwhelming but taken as a whole and not dissected ‘Hollow Bodies’ is a brilliant, writhing record, that has more highs than lows and grabs your attention and holds it in a vice-like grip throughout, excluding tracks like ‘See You On The Outside’. It may be similar in a sense to something you’ve heard before but chances are it will also be conceivably better.
Blessthefall’s fourth album is a very solid effort, that despite sometimes being whiny and dramatic is also hard hitting and dynamic. It doesn’t necessarily cover any new ground as far as the genre is concerned, but what it does cover it does so extremely well, making it their own. Ultimately, ‘Hollow Bodies’ is an exhilarating listen deserving of your time, if you ignore it’s (few) weaker moments.
Rating – 8.5/10