Sound — 9
Blessthefall have definitely stepped it up on "Witness". They're much much heavier on this album than on "His Last Walk". And the new singer Beau Bokan (formerly from Take The Crown) is a more than welcome replacement in the band. When Blessthefall and Craig Mabbit parted ways, it seemed as though it was the end of an amazing band with amazing potential. However, as if in direct response to these doubts, the album opener 2.0, a minute-long breakdown, boasts the lyrics "We're not dead, we're not like you said". With all the fuss and commotion over the new singer, how he will fit in with the band and how he'll do on the new record, it is very easy to overlook the progression of the rest of the band as musicians. The instrumentation on "Witness" has improved quite a bit from that on "His Last Walk", with many more riffs, even some tapping riffs, as well as a healthy supply of breakdowns, as well as more prominent drum work, with a few songs opening with just drums. My only criticism is that some of the chord progressions are similar if not the same in a few songs. A track by track rundown: 1. 2.0: a simple, yet powerful opening track, with the band shouting "We're not dead, we're not like you said". Good stuff. 9/10 2. What's Left Of Me: a good example of what this album is all about, powerful screams, infectious vocal melodies and an epic breakdown. 9/10 3. To Hell And Back: a demo of this song was released sometime in late 2008 to give the fans a taste of the new singer. The newly recorded album version has a more crisp production and sounds heavier. A finger tapping riff that stays in your head and a bridge that pumps you up. A definite highlight on the album. 10/10 4. God Wears Gucci: song about people who make money of the name of God. A well sung song, which ends in a phone call from Beau's ex-girlfriend. 8/10 5. Hey Baby, Here's That Song You Wanted: probably one of the best, if not the best on the album. The new singer Beau really shines on this album and showcases his singing ability as this is one of two songs not to feature screaming. A softer song, though with an epic, power-chord driven bridge. 10/10 6. Witness: the heaviest Blessthefall song, directed to those who doubted them. However, the opening chord has been used at least twice before on the album, though it takes nothing away from the song. 8/10 7. Last One's Left: a shorter song, with a very good breakdown. Doesn't really need anything else. 8/10 8. Five Ninety: this song was written to the singer's sister who is fighting alcoholism telling her that he is there for her. Powerful, song with nice vocal delivery, especially the breakdown. 10/10 9. We'll Sleep When We're Dead: another song that had its demo released well before the album. A drum opening accompanied with a tapping riff that fades in and a powerful outro. 9/10 10. Skinwalkers: you'd think by the tenth track, there would be at least one weak one, but this is the song we're the guitarists shine, bringing out some crunching, shredding riffs. An atmospheric guitar solo after the bridge complimented by some strong vocal work. 10/10 11. You Deserve Nothing And I Hope You Get Less: another song displaying prominent guitar riffs. One to get the mosh pit moving. With a softer bridge. 9/10 12. Stay Still: the other song on the album not to feature screaming. Not that it needs it or anything. A soft opening, leading into an anthem-like chorus. Only flaw is that the second half of the song could've been a little better. A nice distorted outro. 9/10
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics throughout the "Witness" are consistently of high quality, which would further cement the acceptance of the new singer. The lyrics range from people who make money of the name of God in "God Wears Gucci" to bands that make music for the wrong reasons in "You Deserve Nothing And I Hope You Get Less" to the title track which is written to the people who doubted them and telling them to "Witness" their recovery and current awesomeness. I guess the only flaw in the new singer is the fact that he isnt a dignified screamer as he was formerly in Take The Crown. Though he does do a decent job of it live, I'm not sure how much if any he does on the actual record. Because of this, bassist Jared Warth takes up the majority of screaming duties and does an incredible job of it. With a solid range of highs and lows in perfect cohesion with Beau Bokan's vocals. Overall a very solid effort in the vocal/lyric department.
Overall Impression — 9
For anxious Blessthefall fans eager to see if one of their favorite bands are still going strong, this album will more than satisfy. It can be argued that Blessthefall are actually better off with new singer Beau Bokan. The standout tracks on the album are To Hell And Back, Hey Baby Here's That Song You Wanted, Witness, Five Ninety, Skinwalkers and Stay Still....and the rest of the album. I personally love the new Blessthefall and the new album. If someone stole it, I would definitely buy a new one, then find the person who stole it, get my old copy back and then make them buy me another...then punch them in the face.