Sound — 7
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.
Lyrics — 9
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
Overall Impression — 7
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