REVIEW: Senses Fail – “The Fire”

Senses Fail / The Fire / Vagrant Records

It must be hard being in a band like Senses Fail these days – if you want to stand out in any way, that is. With so many vocalists from other bands trying to make their own personal romantic shortcomings into verses and choruses that sound non-specific enough to be relatable, it takes a lot more than it used to in order to make your lyrics stick out from the crowd. In the early days, Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen had the chops to do just that. In 2004 and 2005, it seemed like there wasn’t a vocal line out there that he couldn’t turn into a lung-swelling crowd anthem. This wasn’t the easiest feat, as the band released their debut after a number of other important CDs from bands such as My Chemical Romance, Silverstein, and The Used had already dropped. Five years later, and these bands – plus a whole lot more – have recorded a lot more songs covering the same basic lyrical ground. The ones who have survived are the ones who have draped those lyrics the most tactfully over innovative instrumentation that distracts from the tired similes and imagery.

On The Fire, it’s Nielsen’s angry tirades – along with some pretty noteworthy guitar accompaniments – that work together to create the album’s most noteworthy tracks (“New Years Eve” and “Lifeboats”). The singer’s intermittent Unearth-esque growl on these songs are praiseworthy, but will leave metalcore fans hungry for more shredding than what’s provided. “Landslide” – not a Fleetwood Mac cover – would’ve fit right in on the band’s debut, Let it Enfold You, and proves that Buddy’s well of literary and historical references to describe his emotional pain is still far from running dry.

Download: “New Years Eve”, “Landslide”

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