Life Is Not A Waiting Room review by Senses Fail

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  • Released: Oct 7, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (73 votes)
Senses Fail: Life Is Not A Waiting Room

Sound — 8
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.

Lyrics — 8
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.

Overall Impression — 8
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.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Guit in my bed
    On cd's this group is excellent! But i saw them live, and i must say. They S*** , the singing cannot sing like on the album, and sometime he missing some words... That was the worst show, i ever seen!...
    I hope this is more like Let It Enfold You. The other releases seemed so bland and generic. "Calling All Cars," bleh...
    you guys all suck ****ing balls... senses fail will and always will kick anybody elses asses. **** you all and i hope you go to hell!!!
    its a good album you just have to listen to it over a couple times, at first i thought it sounds pretty blehh. But it gets better with each listen.
    NemX162 wrote: I hope this is more like Let It Enfold You. The other releases seemed so bland and generic. "Calling All Cars," bleh...
    Well, i have bad news for you, it is much more like still searching than let it enfold you.
    It's a pretty good CD, don't listen to all the doubters. If you liked Still Searching you'll like this, it's pretty damn catchy.
    I don't get what some of these guys are whining about. This CD is great. The guitar parts are more intricate than ever, the drums are often a good driving force to the song, and Buddy's at the top of his game for both vocals and lyrics. He actually started taking screaming lessons from Melissa Cross (The lady that taught the guys from Lamb of God, UnderOath, and others) so he can do it right without blowing his vocal chords. And in my opinion, it's paid off. He's got more range than ever. Some of the screams on this album almost remind me of older Atreyu. So yeah. Screw all you haters. By the way, these guys are playing in my town on my birthday. I can't freaking wait!
    Senses fail rock! they are easily one of the most influencial and unique band of the 21st century! some say they arent original but with buddy on vocals and saraceno and zablocki on guitar they gel perfectly!
    this album sucks. even Still Searching wasn't too bad. But if you're expecting anything like "Let it enfold you" don't even bothing buying...hell, even downloading. They have been going downhill with every album since they started. From the depths of a dream up to Still Searching wasn't too bad, but their far from their roots at this point.
    I can't wait to hear this, they've been my fav, screamo punk band for a while. let it enfold you is one of the best screamo punk albums so hearing that a kid can't decide between this and let it enfold you has me stoked
    The Spoon
    Still Searching was really amazing. This album is kinda dissapointing. Its catchy, but really generic.
    This CD is amazing. I like that the lead stands out more than in the last albums. It could use a pinch of the scream from "Irony of Dying on your Birthday" though. Still, its a fxcking awesome record.
    awesome album, there are only a few minor things i don't care for, the screaming on this album isn't that great, and i wish they had more screaming. its only on like 3 or 4 songs, but a very good album nonetheless. i can't decide between this and Let it Enfold You, its really close
    the guitarists for this band are really good and make some cool stuff, some pretty cool songs as far melody and what not, but i cant get into either the singing or lyrics... havnt heard this album yet though so i really should hold my tongue, lookinbg forward to it though.
    I got this album hoping it would be like Still Searching, but it was kind of disppointing. Nothing really stands out, the only good songs are Hair of the Dog and Family Tradition imo.
    Excellent album. I really enjoy the guitarwork between Zablocki and Saraceno. Definietly a great follow-up to "Still Searching".
    hah, I thought I read "senseless fail" (as in "gee Josh, this band is one hell of an epic fail, which seems pretty senseless"). Wouldn't that've been a lame bandname
    Cool, I hope it's good. They are failry consistent, even if they aren't the most original band out there. And I hope his live singing improves lol
    I absolutely love this album! It is truly incredible! these guys have really changed for the better. people keep on saying that they are generic. What the hell are they thinking. senses Fail is a lot more original then they were when they started. From the Depths of Dreams was pretty good but sounded pretty wussy. Then they got a different guitarist and things were surely looking better on let it unfold you, but a couple of the best songs on the album sounded all too similar. then came still searching which was great, but the most popular song on the album "Calling All Cars" sounds painfully similar to "Buried a Lie" and "Lady in the Blue Dress" off of Let it Unfold You. Now "Life is Not a Waiting Room" in my opinion is incredible because it sound so original. my favorite song is Chandelier because it is like nothing Senses fail has ever done before. The chorus is so dark it's almost creepy.