Senses Fail
The Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
October 21st, 2010 | 630 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Out of the Waiting Room and into The Fire.

When it comes to post-hardcore quintet Senses Fail, listeners can be grouped into three broad categories. Firstly, there are those who were unlikely to make it through one song due to the, shall we call them, distinctive vocals of Buddy Nielsen. The second grouping is those who were fans of the band’s earlier work; which was raw, aggressive and relatively heavy. Finally, there are many who jumped on board when the New Jersey natives recruited producer Brian McTernan (who returns here) for their energetically catchy second album ‘Still Searching’. It was clear that 2008 follow-up ‘Life Is Not A Waiting Room’ was aiming to ignore the first group and please the remainder, but while it was a solid and consistent release, it ultimately felt a little forced and uncomfortable. Persistently, fourth LP ‘The Fire’ keeps the same objective and thankfully achieves the intended result more successfully.

Bucking their previous trend of building up to their lead singles, Senses Fail waste no time laying out their intentions for ‘The Fire’. Acting as a mission statement for the entire LP, the opening title track bursts out of the gates to make for one of the band’s most memorable songs yet. It is a near-perfect combination of all they have done in the past; where tortured screaming meets an anthemic sing-along, and where soaring dual guitar-work wraps around a galloping rhythm. Simplifying matters, the remainder of the LP follows a similar blueprint, with slight adjustments made to the extent and placement of Nielsen’s improved and predominantly understandable screaming. Tracks such as ‘Coward’, ‘Lifeboats’ and even forthcoming single ‘New Years Eve’ effectively hark back to the band’s screamo roots, while the likes of ‘Safe House’ and ‘Landslide’ tone the vocals back to emphasize their catchy chorus.

Another previous bone of contention regarding Senses Fail has been their attention-seeking lyrics. Once more, this is a clear area of improvement on ‘The Fire’, one which has been born out of a more mature outlook to past experiences. Instead of retaliating to his issues by wanting to stab anyone who gets in his way, Nielsen now looks forward with measured realism. “The rear-view reminds us where we’ve been” he states on ‘Headed West’, while ‘Safe House’ begins with “I’m climbing out of the hole that I’ve been digging”, before later containing the key line “The vultures circle overhead, hanging like halos for the dead, but I’m not suited for one yet”. While ‘The Fire’ has most in common with the band’s debut LP ‘Let It Enfold You’ – and can even be criticized for simply being that album updated – this is clearly an outfit that has made several advancements since that time, and is all the better for them.

‘The Fire’ is also a satisfyingly consistent release. Excluding the standout title track, there is only a minor discrepancy between the quality of its second best song and its eleventh. If anything, it may be too consistent however, to the point where greater variety is required come the final trio. ‘Nero’, ‘Irish Eyes’ and ‘Hold On’ are all solid in isolation and could even be seen as highlights for some, yet one cannot help but feel that they were missed opportunities with regards to adding further experimentation to dynamics, in a manner (think ‘The Priest and the Matador’) similar to that which made Still Searching’s latter half so surprisingly pleasing. This is not an overwhelmingly negative feeling though, since the album is ordered rather well (heavier songs are never placed consecutively) and does not overstay its welcome at 38 minutes in length (with no track breaking through the four minute barrier).

Just like on its predecessor, Senses Fail are still preaching to the converted on ‘The Fire’. It is not an album which is likely to win over too many new fans, nor is it a release that is serving up much which is fresh and new. Yet, in refining the band’s sound and style so effectively, ‘The Fire’ is ultimately a resounding success which meets its objectives. A little unexpectedly (to yours truly, at least), it is in fact the heavier songs which work best, since the effectual screaming that is used, actually augments the catchiness of the applicable track’s chorus. This fact, in conjunction with the display of gratifying advancements elsewhere, not only makes ‘The Fire’ an excellent album, but also bodes well for the future direction and continued success of Senses Fail.

Recommended Tracks: The Fire, Landslide, Lifeboats & Coward.



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user ratings (417)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


17920 Comments


i shot him through the head
and now he's dead

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep, being able to successfully rhyme was their initial objective all those years ago.

HaloDude442
October 22nd 2010


693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

great album. I really like his screaming on this one

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, while I know I'm going to get a few "told you so's", the screaming makes most of the better songs on this album. I still would have preferred even more of a sing-along factor on some of the choruses, but they're more in need on the tracks which have the least screaming... Which says something.

HaloDude442
October 22nd 2010


693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I noticed that. Although I really like Headed West's chorus, and Safe House's isn't bad either.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To be honest, 'Headed West' is the one song I'm not so sure about on this album. If I had to pick a weakest track, it could in fact be that one. It's still good though.

For mine, the best chorus (apart from the title track) is 'Landslide', closely followed by 'Safe House'.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks andcas. If I wasn't staff, I wouldn't have written this review since it's fairly similar to Ryan Cleary's.

A 4 for you or higher?

Gyromania
October 22nd 2010


15716 Comments


No way

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes way Matthew.

tapitforever
October 22nd 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I JUST WANTT TOOOOOOO FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL ALLLIIIIIIIVVEEEEEE

i keep quoting that part but its so awesomely done in the song.

HaloDude442
October 22nd 2010


693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

that part is like.... wtf is this i dont even


in a good way.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And I like quoting "I'mmmmmmmm stuck in a coooooooooo-ma". I love the build up to that line towards the end of 'Can't Be Saved'. I thought they were going to do that a on a few songs on this album, but they resisted the temptation for some reason.

tapitforever
October 22nd 2010


1243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh also, this is a splendid review btw. I must give credit where credit is due.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Muchos Gracias tif.

KTLL
October 22nd 2010


87 Comments


The lyrical delivery on New Year's Eve is so solid. I feel like I'm pissed off and in high school again.

HaloDude442
October 22nd 2010


693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the lyrics have always been a great part of this band to me. and this album is the same

yeah good review as usual btw. Both reviews are very good actually

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Halo.

I just spent my lunch break listening to New Years Eve, Safe House, Coward, Nero & Hold On for the 4th recommended track spot. I went with Coward, but ask me tomorrow & I will probably change my mind.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


16021 Comments


yeah so this album is actually pretty good

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You sound very surprised SS.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2010


16021 Comments


wasn't a fan of waiting room, although i remember still searching being pretty good

i dunno i pay minimal attention to this band but after listening to this through i was impressed



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