As on their previous releases, Hollow Bodies sticks pretty closely to the metalcore template. You’ll hear plenty of breakdowns and alternating screaming and singing vocals. The opening track “Exodus” is a good representation of the album. The five plus minute song has a lot of shifts and twists. There are some intense and heavy parts, and some very melodic sections.
The contrast between the screaming and singing vocals is even more pronounced with Blessthefall than many other metalcore bands. Jared Warth’s throat shredding unclean vocals give way to Beau Bokan’s syrupy sweet singing. There are times where you hear them both in action at once, like on the title track, and their styles actually blend together well.
Blessthefall show versatility on the album as well. Intensity and massive breakdowns are obviously a major part of their repertoire, but they show a softer side on the ballad “Buried In These Walls,” a very accessible track with all melodic singing.
For the first time, Blessthefall have brought aboard some guest vocalists. Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns shines on the swaggering “Youngbloods,” which has some of the most aggressive moments on the album, but also plenty of melody. Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red appears on “Carry On,” and the album’s mellow seven minute closer “Open Water” features the electro-rock artist Lights.
All three of the songs with guest vocalist are on the second half of the album, which I think was a good choice. It adds diversity, and firmly establishes the album’s vibe and style before adding in the guests. All deliver solid performances, but for me "Open Water" was the highlight.
Hollow Bodies is a step forward for Blessthefall. Their songwriting is getting better, there’s plenty of variety, and with each album they are continually building their fan base and climbing the ladder toward the upper echelon of the genre.
(released August 20, 2013 on Fearless Records)