Album Review: Blessthefall - 'Hard Feelings'

20 April 2018 | 1:51 pm | Staff Writer
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A more mature & evolved Blessthefall.

More Blessthefall More Blessthefall

Blessthefall have recently released their long-awaited sixth album, titled 'Hard Feelings'. These guys have always been one of those bands whose music I’d been meaning to check out for a long while now, but truth be told, I've never really dug that deep into their discography aside from a couple songs off of their previous album, 2015’s 'To Those Left Behind' and I thought that those batch of poppy-based metalcore songs were quite good. However, when I heard the singles from this new record, I was very surprised at the band’s further change in sound but was very excited to see what they had in store with the rest of the LP.

Opener 'Wishful Sinking' draws you in immediately with the echoing vocals and dark instrumentation found in the intro. This song is a solid balance of what'a been heard on Blessthefall's older material and also the newer sounds they’re now experimenting with. The vocals are a lot more melodic on this track too, which is something you’ll hear a lot throughout the new record. Older, heavier inclined fans don't fret, for there is some screaming come the song's bridge, along with a fantastic breakdown and heavier instrumentation to show off their usual aggression. This track really was a fantastic choice for not only a single but also the album's opening moments.

'Find Yourself' is a much more melodic track with a chorus that I think is one of the best, if not the best on the entire record. The hooks on it are just so interesting and super catchy as well. 'Melodramatic' is very energetic right off the bat. There is some incredible drumming on this track from Matt Traynor and even some screaming in the second verse and bridge to add more aggression to what is already on offer. Traynor's drum work is also very impressive on the following track, 'Feeling Low' - one of my favourite tracks as far as the lyrics go and features yet another great chorus.

Up next is the third single 'Cutthroat' and it definitely stands out from the rest. As the song's title suggests, this is pretty cutthroat; darker moods, heavy instrumentals and almost entirely screamed vocals. There are some clean vocal sections here and there to balance things out, but for the most part, this is the key track that fans reminiscent of Blessthefall's older material will latch onto most. On the flipside, the intro of 'I’m Over Being Under(rated)' mixes synths in with metalcore instrumentation for something a little more 2008, but it works well. You can also really hear the emotion in this track from frontman Beau Bokan, but there’s even more of that in the second-to-last track, which I’ll talk about in a moment.

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For now, 'Sleepless In Phoenix' was something that stood out to me quite a bit, and for a number of reasons. For one, it’s one of the tracks that shows the band experimenting further down the road of their softer pop-acoustic sounds here. The songwriting is great too, as I love how the song just keeps building up as it goes on; from the delicate, piano-led intro to that huge, anthemic chorus. In addition, the vocal performance from Bokan is fantastic on this track, as well as the one that follows: 'Keep Me Close'. The guitar parts here are insane, especially during the earlier sections of the song. The verses see the band ease off the accelerator, allowing the vocals to really shine through. Also, the breakdown on this track is damned good and the synths heard in the background only add to the emphasis of it, making it even larger and even more dramatic.

The second to last track, 'Sakura Blues' is a close favourite of mine. Much like the past songs before it, this one starts out on the lighter side, until it's massive chorus kicks through the wall. There are so many emotional lyrics on this track too, and this song might just be the most heartfelt on the entire record as far as the lyrical content goes. The album then closes out with 'Welcome Home', which, if I’m being honest, was one of the songs on here that I had pretty mixed feelings about. The melodies are solid - by far the highlight of the track - but it doesn’t really feel like it fits as a closing song and seems to be a weaker track to finish the album out on, kinda like the band ran out of steam just before the finish line of a very solid record.

For someone who was rather new to this band, I was very surprised with 'Hard Feelings'. For the most part, Blessthefall seem to be experimenting with a much more melodic pop sound than what many fans will be used to hearing from the group. In a few ways, they've somewhat taken a bit of a risk here, but Beau Bokan and co. have pulled it off very well on LP number six.

1. Wishful Sinking

2. Find Yourself

3. Melodramatic

4. Feeling Low

5. Cutthroat

6. I’m Over Being Under(rated)

7. Sleepless In Phoenix

8. Keep Me Close

9. Sakura Blues

10. Welcome Home

'Hard Feelings' is out now.