ATP! Album Review: Blessthefall – Hollow Bodies
The record opens with "Exodus," a thrilling introductory track with an eerie electronic opening to shows the listeners the hostile and empty wasteland for which this album will take place. The track really shines by the varying tempos that both present the themes of the album as well the emphasis on both Beau Bokan and Jared Warth’s vocal styles, which lead perfectly in to the albums confrontational single "You Wear A Crown, But You’re No King." Both tracks really show the muscle of the entire album. The juxtaposition of Bokan and Warth in this track are cleverly showcased from the band contributing dark and hard-hitting arrangements for Warth, while taking time to slow down for Bokan to provide a moment to breathe before he provides the clean reasons for the dirty deeds of the so-called “King.”
The following single "Déjà Vu" is where the album begins to get some traction. While the structure of each song doesn’t really change, the messages and themes of the album stay consistent. The same goes for the overall muscle the album has. Something that is very clear about this album is the vocal quality of Warth. They are very much refined on this record when comparing to their previous works. Having done so, he is able to contribute and carry his own energy in every song without having to compete with Bokan.
"Buried In These Walls" is where the band really put the breaks on the album. Not in a bad way, just in tempo. The overall atmosphere of the song feels more like something you would hear on a Purity Ring track; slow electronic drums with ambient variables added to the sound (with the occasional guitar strum of course, it is a rock album). The lyrics seemed rather confusing at first, but it becomes clear that they are only mimicking the confusion and torment that finds its way in to every relationship. However the track deals with the conundrum of wanting to stay with it, showing the deeper side of the album.
This atmosphere comes only to be bombarded by Jesse Barnett of Stick To You Guns. Both bands sound like they form together flawlessly until you listen closer. Blessthefall tend to write about experiences and consequences like most bands, but don’t usually rely on swearing to get their point across. The track kind of takes a fall when the artful writing style of Blessthefall is overshadowed by another artist’s seemingly tasteless rage.
The real gold star of the album, in opinion, is "Standing On The Ashes." Continuing the wasteland theme of the album, powerful drums and riotous vocals take this track to the next level. Much like the bridge in "King," many lines in "Ashes" have the same fist-pumping energy that will have any show-goer screaming. From “I see you killing yourself again” and “The victim is you,” the options are endless.
The final tracks of the album, in opinion again, should have been switched before the release. "The Sound of Starting Over" is a muscle track that deals with the seeming end of something, making it perfect for an album closer. The song’s energy stems from Bokan’s strong and aggressive vocals, empowering the overall exciting track that it would have made finishing the record more fulfilling. However, one should not discredit the true awesome that lies in "Open Water." Blessthefall and LIGHTS fans finally got what they wanted and got a duet from the happy couple. The power ballad duet clocks in at 7 minutes of a love that is worth fighting for. Whether it is these two (the Bokans) or anyone, this track can be used for any relationship that is struggling for endless reasons. It is just a matter of dealing with those reasons.
Hollow Bodies is by far Blessthefall’s best work. Well worth the wait. However, does it stand out of the sea of post-hardcore-metal-nuage-deathcore-megarock-loudness? Not really. There are strong tracks here and there that show Blessthefall can play, but it may take time for Blessthefall to find that “x-factor” that many bands die searching for. But when compared to this year’s releases, Hollow Bodies’ muscle and aggression in both sound and writing will help it find it’s way to many “end of the year” lists.
Hollow Bodies is out now via Fearless Records.