Sound — 7
Funeral For A Friend are one of the founders/creators of the new post-hardcore sound and their dbut album, "Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation", was a seminal album and is still held in high regard by those who like this style of music. This album, their 6th full length studio album, "Conduit" is a throwback to the hardcore-punk vibe that some of the songs from "Seven Ways" to "Scream Your Name" and "Casually Dressed", like "Rookie Of The Year" and "10:45 Amsterdam Conversations", whilst still moving forward in scope from "Welcome Home Armageddon". The album is short and punchy, but still impresses in terms of sheer power and riffage. The guitar-work on this album is as good as any of Funeral's work, but there does seem to be something left to be desired in the delivery of them on some songs. Due to the album's brevity, there doesn't seem to be any point where the riffs have a chance to flourish in their own right, unlike past songs such as "Escape Artists Never Die", "Novella", "Recovery", "Alvarez", "The Diary", "You Can't See The Forest For The Wolves" or "Welcome Home Armageddon". Moreover, this album doesn't contain any reprieve from the intense strength, which, whilst some may feel is a strong point, means the album is lacking somewhat in contrast (with "Elements", the penultimate track being the softest song) compared to previous works, which can make even the, very short, 30 minute album feel like it is the same thing for too long, and means that it is hard to tell tracks apart. I've listened to the album through 15 times and I still couldn't tell you which song was being played were you to choose one at random, due to the same feel throughout. I call this feeling "The Sword Syndrome" named after the band The Sword because, whilst each individual track is fantastic, it is not actually easy to say which song is which, because they all feel the same. In terms of drumming, the introduction of Pat Lundy, former Rise To Remain drummer, has had a clear effect on the direction of the music and one can tell which songs he is drumming on compared to the ones which former drummer, Ryan Richards, is on. This is not a bad thing, but for those people enjoyed some of the grooves and fills Ryan provided for the band will be greatly disappointed that this has been replaced with a leaning towards more Double-Bass drum work than cymbal and tom flourishes.
Lyrics — 7
The singing on this album is a slight step away from the angelic vocals used on songs from previous works, with Matt letting more of his Hardcore and Punk influences take lead role in some songs, like "Best Friends And Hospital Beds". The lyrics work very well over the music as you are listening, but I find that during many of the verses, it is quite hard to make out the exact lyrics without multiple listenings. Some may feel this is indicative of the genre, but I have found this is probably due to the slightly new vocal style that has been adapted for the album, as it leaves less room for enunciation.
Overall Impression — 7
As you may have guessed from my above musings, I am not as impressed by this installment as I have been by 4 of the previous 5 albums that Funeral have released, and I think this album is better only than "Memory & Humanity". Even so, the stand out tracks from previous albums could easily rank as people's favourite songs, whereas, whilst the overall quality of the album is strong, even the stand-out tracks fail to provide enough to gain such a high regard. For me, the entire album is great, but a track by track review might help: 01. The opening track, "Spine": It is a very strong way to start an album, and you can be sure they start as they mean to go on. 02. The title track, "Conduit": It's infectious beat which makes you want to headbang throughout the song is a strength that will likely have this become a crowd-pleaser at concerts. 03. "The Distance": The chorus is as strong - a hook as you are going to find on the album, enough said. Funeral have been known for having infectious choruses amidst powerful riffs, and whilst a lot of this album moves away from that, this song delivers on this front. 04. "Best Friends And Hospital Beds": The lead single for the album, and I have to say it is without doubt the weakest song on the album. I equate this with "Front Row Seat To The End Of The World" from "Welcome Home Armageddon". It is essentially a song with a very strong chorus surrounded by very unimpressive, unoriginal verses. 05. "Death Comes To Us All": This song feels like it has elements of all of their previous works combined into one song. From the string-skipping riffs of "Casually Dressed", to the infectious rhythms of "Welcome Home Armageddon". 06. "Travelled": A nice track, again, a fantastic track. The chorus is catchy and the verses will definitely be the cause of many mosh pits in the near future. 07. "Grey": A very punky/hardcore style song with a bit of a feel of "The Getaway Plan" from their youth. 08. "Sun-Less": A strong intro, into a slightly softer verse, compared to the rest of the album, but not by any means soft in comparison to older material. 09. "Elements": It's a welcome change of pace and is the best song on the album in terms of structure, flourishing guitar-work and general enjoyment of listening. 10. "High Castles": This final track, which has Ryan performing on drums, is taken from the "See You All In Hell" EP released at the end of 2011, and for good reason. This song is one that fans of "Welcome Home Armageddon", who didn't get the EP will like most, because of the close ties and feeling it has with that album. Overall, this album is full of quality, from great riffs to infectious drum beats, to powerful choruses. I would usually rate an album of this quality far higher, but "Best Friends" was such a was track and given that the album has come from a band with such a high standard of music, I have to say that this is only a 7/10 on average.