blessthefall – Hard Feelings:
For fans of: Bring Me The Horizon, Waterparks
Listen to: Sleepless in Phoenix, Welcome Home
Hard Feelings is already a strong contender for Album of the Year. blessthefall’s sixth full-length shows the band trying new things, shamelessly weaving dubstep and dance rhythms amongst their famous breakdowns.
And boy howdy, does it work well.
Directly addressing their doubters on I’m Over Being Under(rated) with the vitriolic chant of “You’re not forgiven/And I’m not for giving up”, the Arizonian quintet are ready to step up and onto bigger stages. After fourteen years as a band and five other albums, they’re no longer content with being relegated to the background.
That fact is obvious during every minute of Hard Feelings. Lead single Melodramatic shows frontman Beau Bokan becoming more confrontational, sneering, “If you wanted a war/I guess you got what you came for” – a cliched sentiment, but one that the five-piece are fully embracing.
The range exhibited on this ten-track collection is astounding. There’s piano-driven Sleepless in Phoenix, infused with Bring Me The Horizon vibes but jam-packed with emotion, and heavy-hitter Cutthroat, an unrestrained and brutal attack led by bassist and co-vocalist Jared Warth.
Closer Welcome Home is also a standout track, not least because it features the vocal debut of Bokan’s daughter, Rocket. If you’re a fan of All Time Low, you’ll love this one: it sounds nothing like blessthefall, adding an emotional depth to the album which finishes it off on the highest note imaginable.
blessthefall deserve more appreciation, and with Hard Feelings it sounds like they might finally get it.
Escape The Fate – I Am Human:
For fans of: Angsty lyrics, unnecessarily long albums
Listen to: If Only, Digging My Own Grave
The first six tracks on I Am Human are skippable, unless you like cheesy lyrical content which could have been written by a pre-pubescent child. It’s hard to point a finger towards which song is worse: Four Letter Word which asks “We’ve been here before/So why do we keep coming back for more?” or Bleed For Me, a break-up song in which Craig Mabbitt croons, “I miss that look in your eye/How your body felt on mine,” before admitting, “Falling for you is my biggest regret/The harder I love you, the sicker I get.” Sure, buddy.
Thankfully, after title track I Am Human things vastly improve. Acoustic ballad If Only showcases the range of Mabbitt’s vocal, which the brutal Digging My Own Grave features a screaming conclusion perfect for fans of the bands earlier material. If you’re an old-school Escape The Fate fan, this album is unlikely to appeal, but it’s certainly not as awful as it could be.
30 Seconds to Mars – America:
For fans of: The Chainsmokers, autotuned
Listen to: Walk On Water, Remedy
There are no words for how awful 30 Seconds To Mars’ fifth album is.
Every single song is autotuned to within an inch of its life, removing any vestige of emotion from the record. Hollywood heartthrob (*eye roll*) Jared Leto tries his hardest to exhibit some passion, screaming “There isn’t any other way,” during One Track Mind, but the effect on his vocal makes it flat and passionless.
Then A$AP Rocky arrives. I’m sure you can imagine how well that goes.
Another famous friend features on Love Is Madness: chart-topping alternative artist Halsey. Unfortunately for Leto her vocal completely overshadows his. It’s impossible to stop thinking that he should sit down and let her have the spotlight, because the contrast between their vocals proves without a doubt that he’s past his prime.
It’s ironic that Halsey appears on this collection, because the majority of songs sound as though they’ve been ripped straight from The Chainsmokers album (and we’ve all heard their collaboration, Closer). In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Leto suddenly tore off a mask and revealed he was one of The Chainsmokers. That would be easier to believe than there being two bands producing music so dreadful at the same time.
There is one shining moment in amongst all of the shit, though. When Shannon Leto steps up to the microphone on Remedy, his beautifully clear, country-esque tone makes you question how Jared Leto managed to become frontman. He’s far more talented than his brother, yet completely underappreciated hidden behind his drumkit. #getjaredout
“I must change, or die,” Leto croons during Dawn Will Rise. Changing 30 Seconds To Mars style was the wrong decision. It’s high time that the ex-emo rockers called it a day.