Blessthefall – Hard Feelings (Rise Records, 2018)

Before I dive into this review, I’ve got a confession to make to all three of the readers of my reviews. As much as I love the nastiest, most brutal and sonically punishing music I can dig up from the darkest corners of this rotten world, if you put any band fronted by a high-pitched, auto-tuned, pop star of a vocalist in front of me, then I will think it’s the hottest shit on the planet.

Bands like Dance Gavin Dance are on constant rotation alongside (if not more than) Napalm Death, which only adds to the ever increasing disappointment in the gaze my better half throws at me like daggers whenever I put these sort of bands on and reach for my hairbrush for a bit of emo karaoke.

Now I’ve finished my shame-filled yet cathartic tirade, let’s get back to the job at hand. Even way back then, Blessthefall were another band that always slipped below my radar. Despite the huge popularity they’d gained, for some reason I was never tempted to give them a look in. Probably too busy hiding shamefaced in a Full of Hell album insert or something. Well, now they are back with their fifth album, and Rise Records debut, Hard Feelings. Claiming to have ‘all the old Blessthefall feels’ (whatever they are) and ‘a fresh new sound that will knock you off your feet’.

Photo courtesy of Jake Owens

As soon as I heard singer Beau Bokan sing that first line on opener Wishful Sinking, I was sold on this record. His voice is quite simply stunning. Each chorus is a newfound blessing that you’re spoiled by. Whilst Blessthefall are not doing anything remotely new here, they’re doing it to near perfection, with more catchy hooks in one song than can be found on any current pop record.

The most disappointing parts of this record is when they actually do the heavier moments, like the Bring me the Horizon-esqe moments of Cutthroat, or the djent style breakdowns littered throughout the album. I know there’s a tough guy demographic to appeal to, but if anything, just give us more singing. The electronic elements that are crop up sporadically throughout the album are sometimes very complementary. Other times they’re completely unnecessary, however due to the popularity of other bands using this I can see why an attempt was made here.

With Hard Feelings, Blessthefall have made one of the most surprisingly great albums I’ve had to review so far this year. A thoroughly enjoyable listen across its ten track journey, that’s set the bar higher than anything their contemporaries have done in a while. If anything, Hard Feelings is going to catapult Blessthefall back to the forefront of the scene they’ve been a part of since the start of their nine-year tenure.

You can check the album out below:

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