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Blessthefall – To Those Left Behind

To Those Left Behind
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 11 June 2016, 6:14 PM

If nothing else, you have to respect BLESSTHEFALL’s guts. It takes a lot of bravery to be this Emo in 2016; given that sporting a certain haircut and trying to start a pit can get you beaten up in certain parts of the world. Sadly though, there’s not much else to appreciate on “To Those Left Behind”, and it’s a difficult one to recommend. Their stock in trade is a very melodic style of modern Metalcore where crushing breakdowns and guttural roars sit alongside soaring choruses and ethereal synth effects, and they adhere rigidly to a formula that plenty of Internet commenters scoff at. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it and they’re not half bad at what they do, but it comes across as overly youth-oriented and feels like a refugee from the Myspace era.

Part of this is down to clean vocalist BEAU BOKAN. It’s not really fair to criticise a man for singing in his own accent, but his distinctly Californian nasal twang can’t help sounding adolescent even though he’s in his mid-thirties. It’s a style that became popular with Pop Punk bands like THE MOVIELIFE, NEW FOUND GLORY and a whole range of identikit groups who specialise in pogoing in big shorts, but it isn’t suited for handling the choruses of Metalcore songs. It robs them of any power and makes the genuine grievances he brings up in his lyrics very difficult to take seriously.

Which is especially frustrating because when BLESSTHEFALL want to be heavy, they can be mercilessly brutal. There are breakdowns on this record that would make HEAVEN SHALL BURN take notice and harsh vocalist JARED WARTH has a roar as satisfying as any other Metalcore singer you could name. Yet the melodic parts dominate proceedings and they repeatedly regress to adolescence just when things are picking up. “Up In Flames”, for instance, starts off like an absolute beast, but in less than a minute their sensitive sides come to the fore and it’s hard to imagine anyone over the age of 21 digging this.

In fairness, BLESSTHEFALL are still an accomplished group and they’re nowhere near as obnoxious as ESCAPE THE FATE or FALLING IN REVERSE. They have enough hooks and outraged angst to get teenagers joining in en masse; plus they’re a good-looking bunch of lads and have a good chance of converting fourteen-year-old JUSTIN BIEBER obsessive’s into metal fans. They’re just not a band people will return to by the time their University years are over. They capture a moment in everyone’s life, but they’re too content to stay there; with BURY TOMORROW doing the same thing in a much more impressive way. If you like this genre then by all means give them a go, but they’re a bit outside the usual remit for Metal Temple. Kudos to them for sending the record to a site that specialises in Death, Grind, Black and Thrash Metal, but we’ll just doff our hats, keep a respectable distance, and let the youngsters enjoy it.
Production: 8/10
Songwriting: 6/10
Originality: 3/10
Memorability: 4/10

2 Star Rating

  1. Decayer
  2. Walk On Water
  3. Dead Air
  4. Up In Flames
  5. Against The Waves
  6. Looking Down The Edge
  7. Keep What We Love And Burn The Best
  8. Condition/Comatose
  9. Oathbreaker
  10. To Those Left Behind
  11. Departures
  12. Condition/Comatose (Acoustic Version)
Eric Lambert – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Matt Traynor – Drums, Percussion
Beau Bokan – Clean Vocals, Keyboards
Jared Warth – Harsh Vocals, Bass
Elliot Gruenberg – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Fearless Records


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Edited 01 April 2023

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