Review by Dom Vigil
Blessthefall’s new full-length, To Those Left Behind is explosive right off the bat with opening track, “Decayer,” hooking listeners with a rather memorable lead guitar riff and keeping them around with the band's signature clean choruses. To Those Left Behind is a burst of energy and aggression that fans of Blessthefall, both new and old, will appreciate.
While explosive and attention-grabbing, “Decayer” unfortunately ends up sounding a bit like something I’ve already heard before, but thankfully, the next track, “Walk On Water” more than makes up for it. Kicking off with another explosion of sound and some strong guitar work, “Walk On Water” stands out because of the group vocals in the beginning of the track, the memorable aggressive screams and of course, the beautiful clean chorus. The clean vocals in “Walk On Water” are very prominent, but fit the track perfectly. “Walk On Water” is an anthem, and it flows well into the following track, “Dead Air,” which is loud, fast paced and in your face in the guitar, but eventually opens up into this beautiful clean verse riddled with soft, ambient instrumentals. The difference in sound between the beginning of the song and the twenty second mark is huge, but Blessthefall pull it off amazingly. The mood in “Dead Air” almost feels like a nod to Thrice’s Alchemy Index albums, as the clean verses have a very airy quality about them, fitting the name of the song and its mood perfectly. “Dead Air” is bigger and brighter than “Walk On Water,” with a slow, anthemic chorus supplemented by orchestral elements, and the contrast between the songs is amazing.
“Up In Flames” follows “Dead Air,” and like the previous song, this track’s sound mirrors its title as well. “Up in Flames” is aggressive, carried mainly by unclean vocals and fast guitar work, which contrasts well with “Dead Air.” These first four songs are bound to keep listeners on their toes, as they change pace and mood in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, these changes, while big, are not too drastic or unnecessary. Unfortunately, though, this strong versatility in the first few songs seems to dwindle as the album moves forward. The guitar tones and breakdowns on a few of the following tracks sadly seem to blend together and sound very similar.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t any standouts in the second half of the album. “Looking Down From The Edge” hosts some of the strongest clean vocals and lyricism on To Those Left Behind. The vocal melody in the chorus is a stand out from the other tracks on the album, setting “Looking Down From The Edge” apart from the rest. “Keep What We Love & Burn The Rest” is also a good standout because of its softer quality compared to the rest of the album. The following track, “Condition // Comatose” is also very similar in that aspect, as it’s slow and softer and almost more of a ballad. The album’s title track hosts a little bit of everything that makes To Those Left Behind strong - there’s that explosiveness in the unclean vocals and strong lead guitar hooks, as well as the melodic clean choruses that will resonate with listeners.
To Those Left Behind is a strong effort from Blessthefall. While it would be easy for this group to fall into familiar or safe songwriting patterns, they really seem to come out of their shell on the majority of these tracks. There are definitely a few songs that stand out more than others, but there is absolutely a little bit of something for everyone on this release, from aggressive, hard-hitting tracks, to softer ballads and melodic clean choruses. To Those Left Behind is a must listen.
Listen to "Dead Air" or "Looking Down From The Edge"
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