Senses Fail
The Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Cleary USER (16 Reviews)
October 19th, 2010 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Satisfyingly brimming with James Nielsen’s patent self-destructive anguish, The Fire doesn’t break any new ground, nor will it win many new fans, but it proves to be the most consistent Senses Fail release to date.

Often the subject of ridicule for their clichéd lyrics, repetitive themes and oft-shrill vocalist, Senses Fail is guilty only of pursuing a now time-tested avenue of musical expression. Belting out above average post-hardcore filled with alcohol, depression and all the late-adolescent angst one can handle, Senses Fail continues their success with The Fire, an album that fulfills despite featuring only the slightest vestiges of musical progression. Though still stuck in the shadow of Still Searching and its magnificent three track conclusion, The Fire proves to be Senses Fail’s most consistent release, fed by huge choruses, improved overall vocals and another hard-hitting, cathartic effort by Buddy Nielson.

Though lacking in pure vocal talent, James “Buddy” Nielsen and his hysteric voice have been the defining musical facet of Senses Fail since the band’s inception eight years ago, and with the band’s fourth studio release little has changed. After what can only be described as a castrated performance on 2008’s Life Is Not A Waiting Room, Nielsen returns in 2010 with a stronger showing, the largest improvement coming in the delivery of his harsh vocals, as evidenced by the powerful scream sections on opener “The Fire” and “Lifeboats.” Though the songwriting and lyrics largely follow the same archetypes of depression and substance abuse that stem from Nielsen’s personal experience, they feel revitalized this time around, reborn with a new burst of passion and energy. The typically dark, despairing tone of the music has also undergone a makeover, as a sizeable section of The Fire holds, of all things, hope, as if Nielsen finally seems to be emerging from his six-plus years of continual self-annihilation.

Instrumentally, Senses Fail, show little evolution from their previous album, with the same power chords, shrieking guitar leads and chugging drums as prominent as ever. The loss of Heath Saraceno seems to have affected the band little, as the guitar remains exciting and a perfect atmospheric compliment to Nielsen’s voice. A contrast between pop-punk and hardcore influences is definitely present, as tracks like “Safe House” and “Heading West” feature a more upbeat, commercial vibe, while “Lifeboats”, “Irish Eyes” and “Coward” carry a heavier, more belligerent sound.

The real fun in The Fire lies in the huge, catchier-than-Ebola, sing-a-long choruses Senses Fail orchestrate within nearly every track. The title track, “Saint Anthony”, “New Year’s Eve”, “Landslide”, “Nero” and “Irish Eyes” feature some of the catchiest choruses Senses Fail have ever written, making the album easily memorable after just a few listens. Several songs, most notably sure-to-be-underrated closer “Hold On” are worth giving several listens, as they feature slower, ballad-esque elements not typically associated with the band. While failing to be as desperately explosive as “Martini Kiss”, not being the tragic narrative climax that is “The Priest and The Matador”, and lacking the slumber inducing melancholy beauty of “Blackout”, “Hold On” serves as a fitting closer to the album, featuring an uplifting chorus, a rare guitar solo and an exceptional vocal performance.

A steady, well-rounded release that sees Senses Fail settling into a pleasing comfort zone, The Fire doesn’t break any new ground, nor will it win many new fans, but it proves to be the most consistent Senses Fail release to date. With a tad more maturity than and just as much anger as before, Nielsen and company unabashedly flaunt their angst-ridden sound, throw in a pinch of hope, and prove that even when strewn upon the turbulent, critically shelled battlescape of mainstream Post-Hardcore, from the ashes they will rise.



Check Out
The Fire
Saint Anthony
Nero
Hold On



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user ratings (434)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mordecai.
October 19th 2010


8289 Comments


this is pretty good. no still searching though. agree with your review for the most part. well written too.

RosaParks
October 19th 2010


15881 Comments


I thought this was pretty boring.

Digging: 1000 birds/golden gate bridge suicides support group - Timeworn

Mordecai.
October 19th 2010


8289 Comments


yeh k here's a pos

Niceinvader
October 20th 2010


773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album was such a cool surprise for me

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you just call me a dog? LOL.



Great to see you back reviewing Ryan. I know you've been around the site anyway, but it's cool to see a review from you again.



And I won't bump you into oblivion for a few days yet. A few circumstances has meant that I didn't get to hear this album as early as I should have.

BrahTheSunGod
October 20th 2010


1279 Comments


CLIP MY ANGEL WIIINGSSS

good album, very solid review. pos'd!

also,
"catchier-than-Ebola"
you definitely just went there

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just had a read of the review & it seems I will be recycling a few of your thoughts Ryan. Pretty spot on with our opinions, although I probably disagree with you on the extent of the catchiness in the choruses.

Ire
October 20th 2010


41851 Comments


their best album

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


18542 Comments


very good review, i was going to cover this but you hit almost all the points i was going to so i won't bother. pos'd

tapitforever
October 20th 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its pretty good but this review is better than the album......oh well. pos'd.



my favorite part of this album was when i was listening to it on myspace and it finished and i changed

it to calling all cars

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I couldn't resist clicking down to 'Can't Be Saved' just for "I'mmmmmm stuck in a coooooooma"

tapitforever
October 20th 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha so true. we're living in the past.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, the opener is really growing on me now.

tapitforever
October 20th 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

davey, the openers to senses fails' albums are always awesome. fireworks at dawn was cool, the rapture was cool enough, etc.



tbh the opener of this album is one of the better tracks.

PinkBlackberry
October 20th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

GOTO BED JOHN IT'S LIKE 6 AT YOUR HOUSE





jk ily

tapitforever
October 20th 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha im drunk and i want to talk about music velty. GTFO



jk you're my fav.

tapitforever
October 20th 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IVE GOT ROMANTIC IDEAS, BUT THEY'RE NOT MEANT FOR YOUUUUUUUUUUU

PinkBlackberry
October 20th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

John, Davey. I think it's safe to say that Calling all cars will be playing at our funerals.



/Endemopost.

PinkBlackberry
October 20th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're drunk? dude. I was fucking WASTED on sunday. 14 shots for someone who doesn't drink...yeah man, THAT drunk.





omg, btw. Reviews good, CDs alright. I got the webrip, kinda sounds terrible as such. BUT It's good from what I can decipher.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010


21720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, their best songs have always been around the track 3 or 4 mark. Because of that, I'm surprised they put 'The Fire' as the opener actually.



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