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Album Review: blessthefall - Awakening

When blessthefall released their debut album ‘His Last Walk’ in 2007 they felt like a band with so much promise, any early clichés were forgiven in the midst of an abundance of energy, drive and a brooding confidence. However after the departure of lead singer Craig Mabbit, and the release of their second full length ‘Witness’, blessthefall, just like many bands before and after, nestled themselves within the constraints of a scene that saw them lose any remnants of momentum and thrust, almost becoming too comfortable within their own self appointed boundaries.

‘Awakening’ delves into almost anthemic territory for its opener before ‘Promised Ones’ soars in to get things started, seemingly where ‘Witness’ left off. One thing that stands out from the offset is bassist Jared Warth’s scream. It sits delicately between a shout and a growl but comes away drained, frail and lacking any sign of genuine emotion or passion for a lyrical subject matter that is more clichéd than the song structures themselves. However Slick licks and even a solo here and there prove the talent of this band, with – at times – a noticeable effort to step away from open stringed breakdowns in favor of more technical guitar play demonstrated successfully on ‘Don’t Give Up’. However you’ll still find more than enough lacklustre attempts at palm muted chugs, which see this album slide back down the slope back into familiar territory, where you soon forget those slight glimpses of a band really experimenting with their sound.

As the album progresses so does the concentration of clean vocals from Beau Boken, ‘40 Days...’ could be placed slap bang in the center of Saosin's self-titled release without anyone batting an eyelid. While ‘Bones Crew’ continues this fashion of the ever encroaching whininess of Beau’s vocal. Creating what feels like the early beginnings of a transition for this band. Only cemented further by closing tracks ‘Flatline’ and the 7 minute ‘Meet Me At The Gates’ which picks back up on the melodic, anthemic approach that opened up the album, hinting at more ambitious musicianship. However this leaves them sounding confused. ‘Awakening’ ends up feeling like a mismatch of ideas, with many tracks pulling the band in different directions, with an end result that actually leaves blessthefall feeling static and uninspiring, no closer to breaking into new ground. Quite obviously you wouldn’t place blessthefall at the forefront of the drive to progress the staleness of their genre confines, however ‘Awakening’ has just placed them firmly at the bottom of the pack.


'Awakening' is out October 4th.

Connor O’Brien

Alter The Press!