Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Review: blessthefall – His Last Walk (2007)

Blessthefall is a group of young adults from Arizona who came together to crafted some great friggin’ music. I found them on MTV2 late one night, sitting in my buddy Dietrich’s apartment, when their video for ‘Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad’ aired.

I was floored. The song opened strong, carried strong, and finished strong. I was so impressed, I flipped open my phone and downloaded the song from my cellular provider’s music store as soon as the video was over. It wasn’t long after that I got my hands on the full album.

‘A Message to the Unknown’ opens the CD and is brutal as hell. Screams and melodic vocals with double bass kicks and all sorts of heaviness around it come together to form a perfect song. I was amazed at how well a band could hit the mark like this. The energy overflows and this was just the first song!

The aforementioned ‘Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad’ opens just as strong as ‘Message…’ and is just as solid. I said earlier that when I first heard the song, I was impressed as hell. The song is so good, I can throw it in my playlist every now and then on my commute home and I’ll never skip it. Double bass kicks litter the track, sandwiching the vocalist’s (Mabbit) incredible screams. An elevated guitar solo for a bridge connects the opening end of the song to the equally intense ending, with more double bass kicks and a ferocious outro. Absolutely amazing.

‘Higinia’ is heavy just the same, with an intense anthem (“You will not die!”) and screams abound. The energy is preserved from the first two tracks and you wonder if it will ever fade. But do you want it to? I didn’t. So far, so good, right? So why does it still happen anyway?

‘Could Tell a Love’ is where the energy – nay, the insanity, begins to dwindle. It’s still heavy, with screams and great riffs, but Mabbit’s melodic work begins to eclipse his screams more in this song and it is here where we begin to see a shift from the metalcore to the post-hardcore.

I kind of have mixed feelings toward ‘Rise Up.’ The tone shifts away (but not completely away) from the heavy screaming and more toward those clichéd, angst-y sounding vocals that I am far from a fan of.

‘Times Like These’ dumps the sound of ‘Rise Up’ and echoes ‘Could Tell a Love,’ with alternating screams and… how do I put this, better melodic vocals.

‘Pray’ has an impressive acoustic thing going before a bad-ass electric riff takes over and ‘With Eyes Wide Shut,’ though reminding me of ‘Rise Up,’ is a unique and quiet by comparison ballad.

‘Black Rose Dying’ is worth mentioning, but the closer, ‘His Last Walk,’ is a brutal assault on your ears with some bad-ass choir singing (reminds me of chant music) in the background as Mabbit’s screams slowly fade away.

I used to think the first couple tracks were the album’s only high points, but for the most part, blessthefall’s debut album is spot on. They are much better as a metalcore group and I think they should keep it heavy from now on. If the whole disc was ‘Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad,’ sure I might say something about variety (which this album surely has, in spades) but being “too metal” is never a bad thing, especially when it’s mastered so well.

The band has a new singer and, apparently, has finished work on their follow-up album, due for release sometime this fall. We’ll see what happens.

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