Senses Fail are known to be a band passionate about their music, and they support this by their lyrics and live shows. All their previous releases have gone down well within the post-hardcore scene and their newest album ‘The Fire’ will be no different. It’s eleven tracks full of passion and aggression. Standard Senses Fail then some people might think, but no it’s not. ‘The Fire’ shows the band developing their sound and sounding much tighter and purposeful than ever before.
The record’s title-track and opener is an impressive start. The use of harsh vocals and clean vocals, something that Senses Fail have done again and again, works really well. The driving guitars give the song an urgent sound and leaves it demanding your attention. The leading lyric “It’s okay to feel lost” reinforces this overall pressing sound. ‘New Year’s Eve’ is an example of the band sounding more aggressive than ever before. Screamo vocals rule the verse while Buddy Nielsen‘s soaring vocals bring a strong melodic chorus that fits with Dan Trapp‘s relentless drum work and the fierce guitars of Zack Roach and Garrett Zablocki.
‘Landslide’ is sure to be a future Senses Fail anthem. The lyrics are really strong and the instrumentation is ambient and engaging. Nielsen‘s clean vocals sound as good as they ever have in this song, and the use of gang vocals reiterate the point that Senses Fail are still a hardcore band, even though the song is a lot less heavier then the rest of the tracks on the album. It is a song that is sure to be a hit with the crowd at live shows: “I’ve gotta start livin’ / ’cause my life’s passing me by / I’m a wreck, I’m unravelling / You’re in the front row as I’m struggling / The spotlight shines showing everyone / Imperfect lines I tried to cover up”. ‘Lifeboats’ is the heaviest song on the album. Harsh vocals and sinister-sounding guitar hooks make for an ominous atmosphere. Nielsen‘s vocals are furious too. Only in the chorus does he sing, but the guitars are still heavy during it so the clean vocals don’t take the hardcore feeling away from the song. The heaviest part of the song is near the end when breakdowns thwart any melody attempting to filter through, and Nielsen screams “What do you do when you got nothing left? / Give up! Give up! And hope for the best! / I fell into the ocean, and I feel sick / Waiting on a nameless rescue ship”.
The album ends with ‘Hold On’, a song full of emotion that encapsulates itself as a calming end to an angry, passionate album. The guitars chug and wind over Nielsen‘s vocals while the drum fills keep the song glued together. The song ends acoustically, and it’s a good choice to end the album with. It’s not angry or brimming with attitude, but more a mature, shrewd song to end with. With ‘The Fire’, Senses Fail have shown the young pretenders how to do it and this is an album that the band should be proud of. Their considerable popularity will only get bigger with this.
Written by Rhys Milsom