Sound — 9
UK-based power punk quintet Failsafe demonstrate the towering infernos of Senses Fail, the thundering flourishes of Anberlin, and the crunching guitar shreds of Bayside. The band's new CD "Routines" from Hawthorne Heights' label Cardboard Empire is produced by Dave Eringa and brims with power punk corpuscles keeping the embers of hardcore surging forward into the present power rock domain. The title track displays a Nickelback gusto in James Norris' vocals as the coiling riffs of guitarists Simon Humphries and Matt Cogley inflaming "The Persistence Of Memory" produce a blustering tension reminiscent of Thursday. The thrusting beats of bassist Andy Sprake and drummer Bob Catlow in "Early Hours" propel a whipping effect as the serried guitar shreds twine tightly around "Light Of The Day" and culminate into a series of soaring ripples. The jagged chord patterns explode and crash into the drum kicks ramping "Every Cycle" and generate a heady urgency that spirals into "Something To Somebody". Though the band keeps the octane level on super charge, they lower it a few notches on "Worth The Wait" to a melodic rock simmer fastened by catchy guitar hooks and calming vocals. Failsafe take the best of what their musical influences ignited and tailor the tracks to fit their preferences.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrical themes reflect a need to be liberated like in "Dead To The World" as Norris shouts out, "I wanna cut the chains and set you free from what you like... you're holding on too tight, let go... I believe in you / I still believe in all the good things that you do... our time is slipping away... we got to let go." Another theme broached in the lyrics is dealing with frustration like in "Worth The Wait" with verses that plead, "If I could get more time in making up my mind / Surely you would see a different side / Cause I'm living like a ghost / Sitting through everyone else / Life is smoke and mirrors / It's getting hard to see through / Counting sheep, pulling teeth... letting all the time go by / I know I'm taking too long shouting at a brick wall."
Overall Impression — 9
Failsafe might seem to be coming to the party late, but what they bring should re-charge power punk's pistons. At first there is a sense of nostalgia when listening to "Routines" that the explosive guitars are familiar and reminiscent of the material from past bands, but the band is quick to establish themselves separate from their influences. "Routines" could be the last bastion of hardcore, but hopefully has motivated more to follow.