After the release of blessthefall’s 2007 debut, His Last Walk, lead vocalist Craig Mabbit decided to call it quits to get away from the music industry. They finished their tour and found their new guiding light in the form of ex-Take The Crown vocalist Beau Bokan. With their line-up back up to full staff, the gentlement set out to create their sophomore release, aptly titled, Witness. Never have we seen these 5 musicians so on top of their game brining some of the strongest musicianship for the post-hardcore scene through 12 gruelingly delicious tracks.
Simply opening the album is introduction, “2.0,” a song that is nothing more than a powerful and genuine breakdown that screams “We’re not dead. We’re not like you said” and brings in some gang shouts over it as well. While not holding particular musical merit or intricacy, it stands as a testament as to their message: they’re back, and stronger than ever.
Following over the next several tracks are heavy hitters, “What’s Left Of Me,” “To Hell And Back,” and “God Wears Gucci”. Each filled with their own set of tricks, Beau Bokan begins to shine through these tracks to more than fill the shoes laid before him alongside the screams of Jared Warth. Of the aforementioned, “God Wears Gucci” is the stand out track of their catalogue showing their precision and execution of heavy riffs and feverish tapping while leading into a grander chorus lead by the swooning melodies of Beau. All this then leads into a slower section filled with ambient lead lines and a killer melody.
As the album continues, there is a slight lag of excitement through repetitive song structure, and mediocre breakdowns every now and then. Yet even through this each song holds its own excitement through catchy hooks and heavy growls to keep your attention.
Containing a new lead singer, released by a new record label, Witness is also packaged with a new producer: Michael “Elvis” Baskette. Brining a crisp tone to the guitars and tightening the drums, Baskette breathes fresh air into their music. Even going as to add minor electronic effects on several drums and a bit of a laser effect on some vocal harmonies (see bridge of “Witness”) brings something new to their music, and it is much appreciated.
While some may have doubted what would happen after Mabbit’s departure, all hearts can lay to rest, as Witness truly is a 2.0 release for these Arizona natives. Sure not to disappoint, be sure to pick this record up on October 6th at your local record shop.