Sound — 7
It's 2013, and nearly two years since blessthefall has released their last effort, "Awakening." In those two years of time, BTF has been touring, and writing material for the new album. Being on Warped Tour's roster two summers in a row on main stage has put them on the spot in the scene to become a class act. This summer's tour promoting a few new tracks from the new album surely created more of a fanbase for them. With their fourth album release set in stone, blessthefall push to the top to make themselves part of the forefront of the metalcore scene. You get the overcharged screams from Jared, the Of Mice & Men meets Bullet For My Valentine tone in guitar, the Asking Alexandria tremolo picking, The Word Alive chants, and at times Bring Me The Horizon or even AA-like synths. Beau has a way of singing that makes you question if this is a metal band, or if you want to get technical, metalcore. It's as though a little fairy decided to take over the mic and sing with a band of demons. There's no way I'm saying this is a bad thing, but the only time I find this band anywhere near metal, or metalcore is when Jared is screaming, which actually has gotten more brutal since their last release. Along with the heavy guitar riffs/pinch harmonics, some epic bass drops, and Matt Traynor's fierce drumming, the sound is fairly good. My only gripe is the production. Joey Sturgis has a way of making things more digitilized than they should be. Beau's voice is also digitalized to insanity, which which threw me off. BTF was never known to use synths in their past albums, and they honestly sounded much more pure without them. The change of producer with Elvis Baskette to Joey Sturgis was not quite a good move in my opinion. The other thing that really bothered me is how little you could hear bass and rhythm sections. The guest vocals did add a cool touch, however, they did not do the album much more justice. For example, the song "Carry On," featuring Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red seemed a little bit out of place. This song had Beau all over it because it was meant for him. And I say this because this song is a crowd chanter. Something that would really go well live, as some of the other songs do. Jake is more suited for the hardcore, heavy hitting songs that he has shown for his own band. Another guest vocal that seemed... Okay, was the song "Youngbloods" featuring Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns. "And it was all a lie." Jesse and Jared scream together in one line. As for the other collab, the last track featuring Lights, titled "Open Water." This collaboration actually had quite some meaning and spirit to it, as Lights is Beau's wife. You can already tell that this is a love song. A very pleasing closer for a BTF album, overall. Also, be prepared for the Bring Me The Horizon-like synths in this song.
Lyrics — 7
What most would probably say is the standout for screamed lyrics is taken from, "You Wear a Crown, But You're No King." From this track, which was released as their first single, you can tell that Jared had a great amount of anger in him letting go. "Watching your empire fall / Watching the ashes fall," he shouts. The other thing about this song, which will most likely not please a lot of fans of this band or ABR, is the fact that it sounds like "White Washed" by August Burns Red at times. As for, "See You on the Outside," I get a very Pierce The Veil vibe with Beau's singing. And not to mention the open riff sounds very much like "Until the End" by Breaking Benjamin. Piano pieces also reminded me of Pierce The Veil for some reason, but I like it very much. A sample of this song that I like a lot can be shown here. "I never fall asleep I always fall apart I'm hopeless at best on my own And I wish that I could close my eyes, pretend that you'd be by my side Cause all I wanted was a face to call my own All I needed was a place that feels like home I think I'm falling for you (falling for you)." Another track, "The Sound of Starting Over," left me thinking. That thinking made me like this track the most lyrically. "Now crawling from the bottom, I'm digging my way out. These bridges that I'm burning are slowly crashing down. Not afraid of what I started, not afraid of going home, If I never took my chances, I would never know."
Overall Impression — 7
For a band still trying to experiment, and find their true niche, this album definitely has proven itself a higher place in many ways over their previous albums. Guitar work, while I did make a few comparisons in my intro, really has changed, but improved immensely. The only thing is, this album had zero guitar solos, while "Awakening" had a few, which really makes this album disappointing in that way. There a few standout tracks on this album, while "Awakening" had about four of them. Jared's vocals has improved so much on this album though. This is something I thought was already at its highest point, but boy was I wrong. This album, while not their greatest, will be crowd entertainers when they promote this album (I will be going to the show with August Burns Red headlining in November). This will potentially expand BTF's fanbase even further. I will look forward to what they do in the future. Good job, guys.