Let me start this off with a fair warning – there is not a lot of metalcore that I like. I could probably count on one hand the number of bands I’ve either enjoying seeing live or continue to listen to recorded music by in this genre.
That being said/disclaimed, Phoenix, AZ’s blessthefall have shitstipated (i.e. released) their fourth full-length, entitled Hollow Bodies this week. The best thing I can say about this one is that the loop has been closed on the six degrees of Kevin Bacon factor here.
We’re six years removed from the band’s fantastic debut, His Last Walk. It would seem all the creative juices that flowed in creating that album – which was just front-to-back damn good – have been entirely used up. I mean, it’s almost like they treated this album like a job. For all intents and purposes, I suppose that is what a musician does. However, a musician is also supposed to be creative, not just regurgitate what all of their peers in the genre are doing.
Take, for example, album lead-off ‘Exodus,’ with it’s faux-electronica intro before the ‘oh-so-mechanical,’ kick snare and rigid down strumming and a bunch of unintelligble screamo vocals before the clean singing comes in. I mean, I know I’m summing up pretty much the entire essence of the genre, but when a band goes out of it’s way to make it painful to listen to, you have to take that into account. ‘Exodus,’ is also entirely too long, clocking in at an agonizing 5:33, making it the longest blessthefall opening track to date.
I mean, I even went back and listened to 2011’s Awakening in attempts to find a clue as to how badly blessthefall has jumped the shark. It only served to reiterate how intentionally heavy and monotonous this album is. ‘You Wear the Crown, But You’re No King,’ is the supposed single and it sounds like the Fear Factory(ing) of blessthefall’s sound. Which would be fine if Dino Cazares was on guitars and Raymond Herrera was behind the drum kit, but they’re not.
By the time the seven-minute album closer/christian girl panty-soaker ‘Open Air,’ (featuring an obscure set of guest vocals by LIGHTS), stumbles in – you’re literally reaching for the bag that’s been over your head while listening to the first 10 tracks that preceded it.