It’s always good when a band goes back to their roots. Especially when the band wrote many a soundtrack to the lives of angst-ridden, unfulfilled teenagers who are now in their 20s. These 20-year-olds missed the passion and raw, visceral style that the band once had, but had lost through the years. These 20-year-olds would listen to the band’s early material and times, good and bad, would come flooding back to them. These 20-year-olds could only wish for the band to go back to the sound that made them so loved and popular in the first place, and now those wishes have become reality. The band in question is Funeral For A Friend.
‘Welcome Home Armageddon’ sees Funeral For A Friend doing what they do best. It’s poignant, visceral, raw and impassioned with energy and ardour spilling out of every song. ‘Old Hymns’ displays a winding, intricate guitar melody, with Matt Davies reminding us of why it’s so easy to sing along to the band. Even though the album’s overall sound is heavy, there are some songs where the post-hardcore influence shines through; and this song is one of those. Driving bass, feverish drums, aforementioned winding guitars and the clean, amiable vocal style of Davies makes this song reminiscent of a lot of material from their 2005 effort, ‘Hours’.
Following track, ‘Front Row Seats To The End Of The World’; the record’s second single, along with ‘Sixteen’ is an angry, discordant and angry song that’s sure to delight long-term fans of the band. The tried and tested method of harsh vocals, paired with clean vocals, that have worked so well for the band before are deployed here and it’s to a really good effect. The pinches used in the quiet sections wouldn’t sound out of place on a much heavier band’s album, and leaves you on tenterhooks as you’re never quite sure when the song is going to kick back in again.
‘Spinning Over The Island’ is quite possibly the heaviest song on offer. The guitar style is very similar to their older material, and the screaming vocals work well too. Davies‘ clean vocals are again though, something that lead the song and if the harsh vocals were used throughout, the song wouldn’t be as effective. After the ferocious chaos, an acoustic guitar eases its way in, and this provides an outlet for the band to throw in the heaviness again. “What’s mine is yours / And what’s yours is mine / Race towards the finish line” are typical FFAF lyrics: thought provoking yet very catchy.
Other stand-out songs are ‘Owls (Are Watching)’ and ‘Broken Foundation’, the latter being a combination of raw punk-hardcore and screamo that’s sure to be a future hit at their live gigs. The album ends with the title track, and acts as a fitting end to the album. It’s atmospheric and poignant and will make listeners put the album on repeat for days, “Every little lie I told” repeats itself over and over at the end of the song, and this, coupled with the elegantly strummed guitar and free-reign bass, makes for a touching song.
Funeral For A Friend may have released their best work to date with this album, and fans who missed their raw style, including me, will be happy to see them back to their best. An awesome album from a band who have evidently still got a lot to offer.
Written by Rhys Milsom