WORDS: James Weaver
To say that metalcore is over-saturated is a huge understatement. The genre’s expansion has been absolutely ridiculous, with bands emerging left, right and centre. Since their emergence in 2003, BLESSTHEFALL have enjoyed widespread popularity across the metalcore world and now in 2015, the band are set to release album number five, To Those Left Behind. Does this new offering from BLESSTHEFALL continue their chokehold on the genre or does it fall victim to mundane repetition?
BLESSTHEFALL‘s sound is largely composed of a combination of harsh and clean vocals, backed with frequent breakdowns and big riffs. To Those Left Behind continues the sound that fans have become accustomed to from the get go. Opening track Decayer explodes into life with hard-hitting riffs and slick interplay of unclean and clean vocal exchanges. This combination of vocal style is the band’s biggest trait and throughout the duration of the record, the vocal performance is the band’s biggest accomplishment. From the pop-driven chorus of Dead Air to the relentless growls in Against The Waves, BLESSTHEFALL give it their all in terms of vocals. The combined efforts of Beau Bokan and Jared Warth are very effective, with their diverse styles linking surprisingly well.
Whilst the vocal performance on To Those Left Behind is certainly enjoyable, the overall sound on the record is painstakingly dull. Riffs become very repetitive, with little to no experimentation with the song structure and breakdowns have no driving punch. It’s lacklustre, and for the band it’s a toothless display. Metalcore has flirted with the mainstream before, but BLESSTHEFALL have embraced it with open arms and as a result, To Those Left Behind lacks the aggression to compete with the genre’s leading names. For example, Condition_Comatose attempts an emotional driven structure but the power of the music is non-existent. Riffs are dull and weak, and the only saving grace of the track is the vocal deliveries.
Unfortunately for BLESSTHEFALL, To Those Left Behind quickly becomes stale. Whilst the dual vocal performance is effective, it is a musical characteristic that has been done to death in metalcore. With so many bands utilising a style that was perfected back in the early years of the 21st Century, it has become increasingly difficult to strike a unique sound. And for BLESSTHEFALL, their efforts with To Those Left Behind doesn’t break any new ground. And for their fifth album, you’d expect more from the band in order to maintain their growth and development. There are moments of brilliance, Oathbreaker‘s up-tempo assault nods back to the band’s earlier sound and Up In Flames ebbs and flows with a captivating chorus. Yet these are only shimmers of brilliance which quickly submerge under a torrent of mundane sound. To Those Left Behind ultimately fails at breaking any new ground for the band and firmly roots them as another nameless face in the over-populated world of metalcore.
To Those Left Behind is out now via Fearless Records