Review Summary: More melodic then it's predecessor, but that doesn't lessen the quality of songs on offer here. A Brilliant Album
Post-Hardcore is a genre of music that has lessened in quality over the years since the 2000's. It's hardly surprising, after all, since the 2000's there have been countless bands that have come along, causing the genre to become overpopulated (much like Nu Metal), and while there are some pretty awesome bands out there who play this style of music, there are so many terrible bands who sound alike.
Funeral for a Friend, in my opinion, while nothing particularly new, are one of the best bands in the genre, offering a sound which is at times fast and heavy, and at others beautiful and melodic. Sometimes these are mixed up in the songs, with some of the faster songs containing melodic moments as well as the heavier moments, and some of the slower songs being pretty heavy as well as melodic. While their first two E.P.s and their debut album Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation (my personal favourite album of all time) focused more on the heavier side, Hours focuses more on the Melodic side of the band, featuring more melody as well as the heavier moments.
One aspect of this is that the screaming present in their earlier works isn't featured as much in this album as it was on their previous efforts, with only one track (The End Of Nothing) featuring screaming. However, this doesn't lessen the quality of the songs present as you can't really imagine these songs to have screaming in. While I don't mind the odd scream or so, I don't like it when it's overused, or if it's used when it's not needed. While FFAF aren't necessarily guilty of either the latter or the former, many of their peers are (*cough* Hawthorne Heights *cough*).
The first three tracks on this album are some of the best songs that Funeral for a Friend have ever released, kicking the album into full swing. Starting off with the awesome 'All The Rage', it's fast and it's pretty aggressive and in your face, yet it maintains a sense of melody throughout the song. One of my favourite things about Funeral is how they blend heavy and melodic elements into the same song. 'Streetcar', which follows on from All The Rage, is another cracker, starting off with a dial-tone before an Iron Maiden esque 'galloping riff' kicks in, maintaining it's fast pace from there until the slower outro. While more melodic then 'All The Rage', it's still an amazing song. 'Roses For The Dead' is probably in between All The Rage and Streetcar in terms of heaviness, but boy does it have an impact! This song is a little more personal then the two that proceeded it, being about a friend of lead singer Matt Davies that died.
The guitar work on this album is pretty impressive a lot of the time. The guitar interplay between Kris Coombs Roberts and Darran Smith is awesome, and is probably at it's best on songs such as 'All The Rage' and 'The End Of Nothing'. Asides from the duel guitars, there is a little tapping present on a couple of songs, most notably in 'Streetcar' and 'Roses For The Dead' (which opens with an incredible two handed tapping riff).
The bands more melodic side does shine through quite a lot on several songs when the band decides to slow things down, on the songs 'Hospitality', 'Drive', and 'History'. These songs are just as good as the other songs present, 'Drive' in particular, with its chorus of 'This Could Be A Movie, This Could Be Our Final Act, We Don't Need These Happy Endings'.
Overall, I'd say that this is a great album from a brilliant band. While I don't prefer it to their debut or their most recent album, 'Welcome Home Armageddon', I still enjoy this album a lot. The only real problem I have with it is that the last track, 'Sonny', while a great song, comes of as anti-climatic, and leaves you wanting more afterwards, especially when you compare it to the closing tracks on 'Casually Dressed' and 'Welcome Home Armageddon', which ended their respective albums with you feeling satisfied by the time they were over. However, this is probably just me being a little nitpicky, and besides this, I think this is a brilliant album, and one that fans of the genre should check out.