blessthefall – Hard Feelings

8/10

blessthefall has returned bigger and better than ever. After nearly three years since their previous album To Those Left Behind, the metalcore/post-hardcore outfit dropped Hard Feelings last week. And to be honest, I have no hard feelings about this release, a slight shift towards a more approachable sound.

Many bands grow tired of how stale the metal scene has become and seek to branch out. Some succeed by putting out genre-bending projects that are genuinely astonishing while others fail by giving a half-hearted attempt that comes off as selling out. blessthefall finds themselves in the former as Hard Feelings is a solid balance between accessibility and authenticity.

blessthefall has always had a knack for clean vocals. Beau Bokan has lent his smooth vocals to every album he’s been apart of, which is ultimately contrasted well by bassist Jared Warth’s violent unclean vocals. One facet of blessthefall that has warranted them their bustling fanbase is their ability to balance soft with harsh. It is this blend that makes them accessible to any listener. It is on Hard Feelings that they continue to do what they do best.

The musicianship remains the same—brash, frantic, and polished. The riffs rip and the breakdowns bring cities down. They have a fair share of tracks that will wreak havoc in the pits. They rejected the idea of sacrificing musicianship for a more accessible sound, which I find extremely comforting. Nobody has to tone down their playing skill in order to welcome in a lighter sound, and it keeps this release feeling like the blessthefall that many have fallen in love with. Yet they do invite more atmospheric production to their sound as evident on tracks like Find Yourself and Sakura Blues.

In terms of vocals, Hard Feelings contains a heavier amount of clean vocals from Bokan. He kills it on every track, creatively crafting powerful, infectious hooks and verses that beg to be sung at the top of lungs. Moreover, the tracks are not without their fair share of harsh screams. The balance is supreme, ensuring a satisfactory listening experience through and through.

In terms of the shift to a more approachable sound, blessthefall have more softer, anthemic cuts on this album. However, the softer tracks are just as powerful as the hard tracks on this project. Sleepless In Phoenix and Welcome Home are phenomenal songs dominated by more post-hardcore vibes and a great deal of clean vocals. Wishful Sinking and Cutthroat are highly reminiscent of the harsh sound they have perfected over their long careers.

Overall, Hard Feelings is a tremendous addition to the band’s discography. Its only downfall is that it lacks the amount of downright bangers that fill up their fourth studio album Hollow Bodies which I personally perceive their best album and one of the best metalcore releases ever. Hard Feelings is sure to appease both old and new fans by continuing to dexterously balance heavy and soft elements.

Ratings:

  1. Wishful Sinking: 9/10
  2. Find Yourself: 8/10
  3. Melodramatic: 8/10
  4. Feeling Low: 7/10
  5. Cutthroat: 8/10
  6. I’m Over Being Under(rated): 9/10
  7. Sleepless In Phoenix: 10/10
  8. Keep Me Close: 7/10
  9. Sakura Blues: 6/10
  10. Welcome Home: 8/10

Top vybes: Sleepless In Phoenix, I’m Over Being Under(rated), Wishful Sinking

Vybes like: Bring Me The Horizon, We Came As Romans

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