Review Summary: Call it a comeback
After a rollercoaster of a decade for this five-piece, ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’ is a solid effort that will fit nicely into Funeral for a Friend’s back catalogue.
Returning to work with the team that produced ‘Seven Ways to Scream your Name’ and ‘Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation’ has helped to finely tune every aspect of the Welsh Quintet. Although the band has adopted a classic rock edge, FFAF have still managed to sound relevant in the dawn of another hopefully fruitful decade.
Solid guitars help make up what is beautiful about this record - the riffs cry with twinges of what made FFAF who they were pre-2005. With Gareth Davies and Darran Smith both being bumped off for this album it’s difficult to ascertain what it would have sounded like without newbies Gavin Burrough and Richard Boucher – but the result has, no matter how, made for a classic record.
The album’s intro, ‘This Side of brightness’ is a dreamy guitar number which leads straight into the frenzied passion of ‘Old Hymns’ - one of the highlights of the record. ‘Damned if you do, Dead if you don’t’, a song which also featured on last year’s EP The Young and Defenceless, assumes a more hardcore stance – an angry one at that. For anyone who craves a bit of nostalgia, 'Man Alive’ would fit in perfectly next to classic 'Juneau'/'Juno' (depending on which album you listen to). The only weak spot is the title track – despite the crashing introduction its very apparent generic discourse makes for barely more than lukewarm listening.
Lead vocalist Matt Davies has come a long way since summer 2002, when the band’s first EP was released. The young boy, once lank haired and baggy jeaned, is now married with kids, is stronger and wiser, and has gotten a haircut. Davies’ voice is much crisper than back in the day, just as distinct as ever, but much more powerful. The drummer also lends his voice to ‘Front Row Seats to the End of the World’, which takes deep-rooted FFAF fans back to the simpler time of ‘Between Order and Model’ back in 2001.
Paradoxically, everything has matured, simultaneously reverting back to the old, while adopting a punk-like edge on some of the tracks. Maybe the band just needed an anomaly of a record and a few changes to the line up to reflect on things and return with a vengeance. FFAF cunningly staggered the release of a few of the songs into the public domain from the beginning of 2011, including a video for pop-punk tune ‘Sixteen ‘on February 9.
The record was released on March 14 in the UK.