REVIEW: Blessthefall – Awakening

Artist: blessthefall
Album: Awakening
Genre: Post-hardcore
Label: Fearless

A span of nearly four years have lapsed since Phoenix’s Blessthefall underwent vast internal changes that would ordinarily destroy the existence of a band. With most notably the departure of vocalist Craig Mabbit against them, these soldiers proved they weren’t going down without a fight. A new line up including frontman, Beau Bokan, and new label in place, they returned to the scene with their sophomore release, Witness, showcasing a band reborn and entirely unscathed by the hardships they’ve endured. Blessthefall continue to cement growth as they are nearing the release of their long-awaited album, Awakening, via Fearless records.

Blessthefall adhere closely to the post-hardcore prototype instilled before them by marrying customary breakdowns structured around melodic strides and abrasive screams.They may hit all the genre requirements with ease but it still doesn’t help them from falling into a predictable, repetitive pit. That’s without saying that Awakening holds it’s own against its predecessors as it embodies stronger vocals, heightened instrumentation and delivers an overall heavier aura. Opening track, “Awakening,” immediately sets the aggressive tone as it begins as a quiet hush that transcends into an anthematic crescendo as Beau chants, “We are the saints, we are the promised ones, we’re taking over.” The peak of suspense leads right into the screeching single, “Promised Ones,” where a commanding opening of military-driven beat and technical riffing draw a musical battle line with the lyrics “Welcome to our fight, there will be blood,” follows suit by provoking an unfastened call for war.

The album weaves between aggression and a more softer approach found on the melodic hardcore ballads “I’m Bad News, In The Best Way,” “40 Days…” and “Bones Crew,” The classic blending of screaming with clean vocals over top have essentially surpassed exhaustion, and at times become stale, but Blessthefall’s clean vocals are edgy enough to work in their favor. The heartfelt vibe comes to an explosive end when “Don’t Say Goodbye,” re-energizes the album as screams of shrieking terror overtake the forefront and leads into a crowd pleasing tune, “‘Till The Death Of Me.” The gradual increasing breakdown and heavily distorted guitar solos display Blessthefall at their fullest potential. Catchy licks and melodic vocals are sure to open up pits and be a concert favorite. Following a pointless interlude, Awakening comes to the heart-wrenching finale, “Meet Me At The Gates.” At just over 12 minutes the song culminates from subtle atmospheric tones to a slightly distorted vocal delivery. If the eerie instrumentals don’t invoke empathy then Beau’s lyrics will be sure to pull at your heart strings as he painfully sings, “So how can I live when I’m watching you die? I’ll see you on the other side, when it is my turn.”

Blessthefall may not be the most original band to set foot on the scene, and Awakening probably wont be a contender for this years best but it’s still enjoyable. Despite the hardships they’ve overcome they are still able to remain a functioning unit that create fun and catchy tunes. With incremental strides towards growth in place, Awakening proves to be their best outing to date.

SCORE: 7/10
Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Cody Black

    Incredible review. I need to get this album.

  • Adam W

    Nerissa, review my band?! We all missed your writing.

  • Zach G

    I’m glad its better than their other work. Very good review.