The fourth studio album from metalcore band, Blessthefall, called Hollow Bodies was produced by Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria) and showcased a band moving their sound closer to a blend between metal and electronica. Having listened to it again with fresh ears, albeit ten years later, the record still holds up. The sound is reminiscent of the electronica found on early Underoath albums, paired with the slick guitar hooks of Escape the Fate, and the metal-tinged leanings of Bullet For My Valentine. It all works out surprisingly well, and features the same lineup as their third album, Awakening, for the first time in consecutive records for the band. The set was released via Fearless Records and would spawn two singles, “You Wear A Crown But You’re No King” and “Deja Vu,” and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums charts. While Blessthefall wear their influences clearly on their sleeves, the product that comes out of it still feels unique and ambitious.
The album blasts off with an electronica-tinged introductory track, “Exodus,” that bravely stokes the flames of setting the tone for the rest of the record. Lead single, “You Wear A Crown But You’re No King” rocks along next with heavy guitars and double kick drums to show off the band’s metalcore chops. What the band did best on songs like this is not allow for moments of clean vocals on the pre-chorus and chorus to allow moments for their fans to sing along to the heartfelt lyrics. The refrain of, “Will it ever cross your mind? / I’m the man you’ll never be / Think about me when you’re all alone / Without someone to love,” marks a moment in time where the band sings about someone who has lost touch with the relationships that mean the most to them.
The title track is an aggressive, hard-hitting song that still provides a brief moment in the chorus to pause for a bit of reflection, as lead vocalist Beau Bokan croons, “Is there anybody left to see the sun? / Is there anybody left to cure the dead? / Unaware and unawake.” The second single from the set, “Deja Vu,” follows down a similar pattern with a heavy verse paired with a melodic chorus in a way that reminds me a lot of Escape the Fate’s approach to their songwriting on their LP called Ungrateful. What sets Blessthefall apart is their ability to mix in more electronic moments into their sound to prevent the record from feeling too formulaic.
The back half of the record features some equally-thrilling moments, with great collaborative songs like “Youngbloods” that has a cameo from Stick To Your Guns’ Jesse Barnett, “Carry On” ft. Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red, and the sprawling closer of “Open Water” ft. Lights. The band adds just enough variety through these guest spots, and the surrounding songs, to breathe some new life into the metalcore genre, that was becoming increasingly crowded around this time ten years ago. Hollow Bodies was recently reissued on vinyl to commemorate the anniversary, and the vinyl pressing really jumps off the audio mix that accentuates the best parts of this thrilling album. Blessthefall have since released two subsequent records after this one, and are currently touring in support of the reissued Hollow Bodies set.