Blessthefall To Those Left Behind
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Label: Fearless Records
[xrr rating= 8.5/10]
On September 18th, Blessthefall released their fifth studio album, To Those Left Behind. The band; from Phoenix, Arizona, are best described as Metalcore/Screamo/Rock. When it comes to Metalcore music, I tend to favor songs that feature clean vocals, accented by unclean vocals, rather than unclean vocals with a clean chorus arrangement. To Those Left Behind features eleven tracks; most of those featuring the clean/unclean format. As I checked out the album over the last few days, I found myself revisiting several of the tracks again and again. I have to say, this album has a great overall sound. The only negative being the lack of guitar solos. Does this make me not like the album, no. Would it make it that much better? In my opinion; yes, but that is just my humble opinion.
Kicking things off on the album, “Decayer” is intense. Screaming vocals lead the way to a melodic, clean chorus. The opening track is usually expected to set the tone for the rest of the album and this one definitely does. Decayer is one of the more intense tracks on this album and definitely sets the tone quite well.
“Walk on Water” is a song for the hypocrites of the world. Those who pretend to be “holier” than the rest of us poor souls out there and look down on the rest of the world as if only their way is “right”. This track took me a couple of listens, but I have very much taken to it. It is definitely the grower of the bunch. Its opening is pretty intense, but the chorus comes in smooth and melodic. Once it hits the first chorus, I am hooked. The alternating clean/unclean vocals are perfectly suited for the subject matter of this track.
“Dead Air”, plain and simply put, gives me chills every time I listen to it. I love this song. This is probably one of my favorite Blessthefall songs. It may be “soft”, but it hits hard with a powerful message about mistakes made and love’s lost along the way.
Just when you thought BTF went soft, “Up in Flames” comes roaring back in with tempo and intensity. This track winds back and forth through unclean and clean vocals. My favorite line of the album lives here. “You’re not the victim, you’re my parasite.”
Staying with the intense, “Against the Waves” follows and drives it’s way straight into your earhole. I really like the guitars here. This is the song I most missed hearing a solo on. There is a bit of a breakdown where they scream “nothing can last forever” with guitars and electronics that would have been a perfect place for a solo. Overall, I think this is the most intense track on To Those Left Behind.
“Looking Down from the Edge” leads in with an electronic feel, but the tempo drops off and clean vocals take the forefront. As the chorus comes along, the tempo picks back up and runs into an alternating unclean/clean vocal section. This evolves back to the electronic and clean vocal combo. The message here is irresistible. Fear of failure, the heartache of losing something or someone close to you and the challenges we all face. My other favorite lyric from this album is in the second half of the chorus of this song: “I’m looking down from the edge and would I do it again? But it’s getting hard to understand why I’m wide awake but barely breathing.”
“Keep What We Love and Burn the Rest” is the perfect follow up to “Looking Down from the Edge”. It’s almost as if it is a continuation or an answer to the problems faced there. With the line “I try to tell myself that I’ll see you again” you can see someone struggling with loss and reassuring themselves to go on with life. This is a very mellow track, but again it is a perfect follow up.
In “Condition // Comatose”, we find ourselves in the middle of someone’s “out of body” experience. This is a very “spiritual” track. This particular person has realized that he is either dead or in a coma. He sees his body below and struggles to understand that he has been called “home”.
“Oathbreaker” is about a person who is not at all who you thought they were. Someone you once trusted who has betrayed you and turned their back to become “that the enemy that I thought that we’d never be.” This song is hard hitting. Musically it is fairly heavy, but the message here is right on point. I really like this one!!!
The title track, “To Those Left Behind” is just as heavy as “Oathbreaker”, if not heavier. In fact, I’d venture to say this is the heaviest track on the album. It is more “riffy” than the other “heavy” tracks and will surely be a song that gets crowds moving for years to come.
Closing out the album is “Departures”. This, for all intents and purposes, could be a “Pop” song, except for the unclean vocals that come in and remind us that it is anything but “Pop”.
Overall Impression: 8.5 out of 10
If all goes according to plan and I am approved for the show, I will be traveling to Birmingham, Alabama to see and hopefully interview Blessthefall for the first time in late October as part of their current “To Those Left Behind Tour” with Stick To Your Guns, Emarosa, Oceans Ate Alaska, & Cane Hill. The tour begins October 20th and runs through mid-December.
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