Life Is Not A Waiting RoomFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 08, 2008 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: On their 3rd full-length album Life Is Not A Waiting Room, Senses Fail delivers 12 tracks that, although do tend to branch out into styles every once in a while, stays relatively true to the band's classic sound. Producer Brian McTernan was once again brought into the studio, and he does seem to be an expert at creating a larger-than-life, sleek sound. The guitars always come to the forefront, and the final mixer did them a great service. You get melodic guitar lines aplenty on Life Is Not A Waiting Room, and at times they are catchy enough to get stuck in your head immediately.
Life Is Not A Waiting Room kicks off with the low-key, brief opener Fireworks. It may not have the energy of some intro songs out there, but the quiet build-up really draws you in. Fireworks doesn't necessarily have that much going on in terms of the instrumentation in the first half, but that allows the vocals (possibly many layers) to come to the forefront. There is a brief moment in the song where you do get an explosion of distorted guitars, but the song once again closes with it's initial quiet sound.
Highlights on the album include Garden State, which features one of the most infectious guitar hooks on the entire record. Guitarists Garrett Zablocki and Heath Saraceno are constantly offering up little lines here and there to enhance the song, and it's cool to hear more than just chords underneath the vocals at times. Lungs Like Gallows is another track that does feature some intricate lead work underneath the chorus vocals, and that adds so much to the listening experience - particularly if you're able to pick up on every note through headphones.
Senses Fail aren't always convincing when they try out some different styles, but they do make some admirable attempts that are still structurally solid. Hair Of The Dog is a throwback to U2's The Edge, and at times that makes it distracting. It still sounds very cool with the amount of delay used, but it's hard not to shake the image of The Edge. Map The Streets dabbles in pop punk slightly in the verses, and for whatever reason, it falls a little flat. The choruses usually end up sounding a bit more like Senses Fail's usual sound in any case, complete with memorable guitar lines that end up driving the song. // 8
Lyrics: There is definitely a focus on personal emotions and turmoil on the new album, and the band does it's best to deliver a fresh perspective on topics that have been covered before. At times there is some rather unusual imagery used, as is the case in Wolves At The Door. Vocalist Buddy Nielsen sings, I want to drown in a sea filled with Novocaine; I want to burn on a beach where the sand; Has thousands of needles poking at my skin. Not every track takes this type of descriptive style, but the others tend to have more of a straightforward, honest feel to them. // 8
Overall Impression: Pretty much every track on Life Is Not A Waiting Room ends up having a thick wall of sound, but you also thankfully get to hear every instrument very distinctly. That is probably the direct result of the producer, and it's easy to understand why they have continued to work with Brian McTernan. There is a bit more emphasis on Buddy Nielsen's traditional singing, but the band hasn't discarded the screams altogether. Even so, it's still the guitars that drive the entire album and you'll have to listen to the record more than a few times to hear the little nuances that Zablocki and Saraceno have laid down underneath the vocals. // 8
Life Is Not A Waiting Room
_RockOnForever_, on october 28, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: As Senses Fail's third full album, Life Is Not A Waiting Room further demonstrates the band's continuing growth and development. Classic Senses Fail combines their typical formula of raw emotion mixed with heavy rhythyms and melodic lead riffs - this album is no exception. Guitarists Garret Zablocki and Heath Saraceno have definitely developed a strong chemistry while Dan Trapp continues to hone his skills on drums with complex beats and double bass. Although the 12 tracks may seem to dip into other genres' ink, the choruses definitely remain written with the same blood, sweat, and tears that Senses Fail has been about since From the Depths of Dreams. // 9
Lyrics: James "Buddy" Nielsen once again draws from real-life experiences and utilizes his interests in religion and literature to write deep, meaningful lyrics for each song. One unique twist to the lyrics of this album is Nielsen's recent break up. Songs such as "Four Years" and "Blackout" reflect on the break up (and even relationships in general), pondering the regrets and mistakes made over the years. Another notable influence can be seen in the first single from this album "Family Tradition" in which Nielsen expresses his emotions regarding his estranged father, reminiscent of the band's never-released track "Bastard Son". Nielsen may not be the best singer but his style does fit the lyrical messages he focuses to convey. In addition, his screaming ability has shown great improvement. Although some lyrics may seem generic and cliche, it is Nielsen's singing that drives home the meaning behind each song. // 8
Overall Impression: Since I can't give an 8.5, I will give this album a 9 overall just because I have been with Senses Fail since the beginning. Honestly, if you absolutely loved Let It Enfold You, this may be a disappointing album. However, one must understand that bands grow and change over time, and that is exactly what Senses Fail is doing. Senses Fail knows what has gotten them to where they are now and is trying to keep true to themselves while still learning and growing. Some definite must-listen tracks are "Lungs Like Gallows", "Garden State", "Wolves At The Door", "Hair Of The Dog", and "Map The Streets". I do believe Let It Enfold You was Senses Fail at it's finest, but I am also sorry to say that I believe they may never make an album like that again. Take a listen to this album but don't judge too quickly. Soon enough Life Is Not A Waiting Room will grow on you and have you rocking out to a developing, more matured Senses Fail. // 9
Life Is Not A Waiting Room
paddydtaz, on april 01, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This latest album from senses fail is a more slick and grown up expansion of their earlier sound. Whatever they lost in aggression they make up with melodic choruses, stunning guitar riffs and sparks of song writing genius. Although this album is exceptional in places it is overall uninspiring. What shapes up to be a stellar effort is eventually let down by a weak ending which is, without doubt, filler and adds very little to the album.
The album shares more with it's predecessor Still Searching than it does with debut album Let It Enfold You, not only in sound but in structure. Fireworks At Dawn opens the album just as The Rapture opened still searching. It's short and plucky and sets a mellow tone before Lungs Like Gallows comes in and starts a riot (just like bonecruncher).
The song writing and structure are the most interesting part of the album. It has the usual fast tempo start and then the hit songs like Garden State and Family Tradition, but it's the middle trio of Four Years, Ali For Cody and Yellow Angles that add something special to this album. Four Years has the typical SF sound and finishes with stomping line wake up, you're sleeping/wake up, you're sleeping behind the wheel sung over an infectious guitar line. Yellow Angles is somewhat of a part II of this song, it has a slow build-up until it crashes and repeats wake up, your sleeping... sung over an even better guitar line. It really is a magical moment that leaves the hairs standing on the back of your neck. Ali for Cody acts as an in-between song that keeps up the fast pace.
However the last three songs neither have the classic old heavy sound or the new catchy sound, they seem stuck somewhere in the middle and leave no impression on the listener. This leave the album lacking the substance of it's predecessors, and gives the impression that it's unsure of it's own identity. // 7
Lyrics: As always lyrics are senses fail's strong point. The main theme of the album is buddy's alcoholism and depression, and the problems that go with it, along with the normal relationships and such like. Buddy repeatedly refers to alcohol as Jack And Jameson. He states the person that you love is dead, I flooded him out with the jack and jameson in four years. This is one of many clever metaphors used in the album. He deals with his depression in ali for cody, I once was filled with inspiration, that lion heart has lost his pride. In this song he tells now he has given up on himself and how he will never change, Who the f--k am I kidding? / I was born with the curse of always giving in?"
The lyrical master piece of the album has to be Family Tradition. Buddy deals with his hatred for his father and the addictions he has inherited from him, I wish I could drain out his half of blood in me, but I'd still have his face, I curse reflections everyday. He does not hold back in this song and paints a very dark picture of himself and his father, who he constantly blames for everything that is wrong, Forgive me I inherited this, from a stranger I'll never miss // 9
Overall Impression: My overall impression of this album is not a good one. It does show potential but I feel it is a step backwards for senses fail. Some of the guitar work is good, the singing and lyrics are good but the overall sound is missing something. I can only hope that senses fail mix their newfound slickness with their classic aggression for album No.4!
However I would suggest that everyone listen to this album as it does have some magic songs such as, Garden State, Four Years/yellow Angles and Wolves At The Door.
Patrick Donohoe 2009 // 7