After nigh on a decade of delivering solid, if dependable, metalcore, we could be forgiven for approaching a new blessthefall release with less than soaring expectations. Although latest effort ‘Hollow Bodies’ acts as an undeniably serviceable lesson in melody and muscle, the throwaway enjoyment of this fourth offering does little to elieviate the Arizona quintet from a quickly overflowing shelf of metalcore nearly-rans.
When it hits home, the thunderous breakdowns and murderous heaviousity here really pins us against the wall, a blockbuster ‘Youngbloods’ displaying the type of chest caving force which the band really excel at. Beyond this, however, these eleven tracks serve up an over abundance of by-the-numbers bounce and clean vocal breaks which serve only to kill momentum and dismantle any infectious energy which may have saw us absent mindedly nodding along.
Indeed, it’s perhaps testament to blessthefall‘s fate that, given a fashion conscious injection of surging electronics and throbbing textures, ‘Hollow Bodies’ comes across as a rather cynical regurgitation of modern scene norms and does little to mask a fatal lack of progression. Tracks such as opener ‘Exodus’ and a plastic ‘The Sound Of Starting Over’ stripped to their core represent scantly more than the passing enjoyment of the familiar chug-a-lug code, and sadly leaves minimal lasting impression.
Some clinical guitar work and genuinely commanding aggression aside, ‘Hollow Bodies’ is disheartening in that it refuses to look beyond commonplace genre standards. Transparent electronica and some lethargic chorus hooks unfortunately prove to overcome some fleeting violent thrills, resulting in a question mark looming ever boldly over blessthefall‘s ability to escape the drawer marked ‘second rate’.
Written by Tony Bliss