Review Summary: And sometimes it’s just not worth it…
It makes sense that Funeral For A Friend would try to outweigh their previous releases, but unfortunately the result sounds forced, pushed and restrained by the band’s own limitations. Despite all the energy that Funeral For A Friend are pushing their formulaic approach to this 2013 release leaves the listener uninspired and wanting more. At just under thirty minutes this full-length release defies the usual length times promoting a rushed feel to the record. This is both a positive and a negative for Funeral For A Friend; if the album was any longer the listen would be tiring, filling in the unnecessary holes and therefore stretching this already uninspiring material to breaking point. With this play time however, the band can finish up before they truly outstay their welcome, ensuring that the merit able parts of Conduit
do make head way on the listener. As it is however the length becomes a problem for those looking for longer track lengths and a deeper writing process.
Despite all the negativity, there are some substantial quality parts to Funeral For A Friend’s Conduit
. This is found especially in the rhythm section and neck snapping metalcore-esque riff sequences. Combine this with a few intelligent hook lines and memorable chorus phrasings and the album picks itself up from stumbling. Funeral For A Friend excels where vocalist Matthew Davies keeps it clean – Davies vocals begin to strain and weaken during shouted sections and are near abysmal when screamed. It could be that his voice is simply not suited to a more aggressive vocal style but when used cramp his vocals into a flat and emotionless state. Alternatively, the gang vocals that make an appearance from time-to-time do show the creativity of the band and portray the mood perfectly at complete contrast to Davies’ strained, if not forced vocal efforts. Album highlights include the musicianship in “Elements” and the above mentioned gang vocals. “Elements” regrettably is too brief for the listener to get the full benefit and relies on an array of catchy yet simplistic chugging, showing that the music does not need to be overly technical or fancy.
Final track “High Castles” finishes the album on a high. Funeral For A Friend showcase that their slightly longer tracks do increase the albums positive reception. The track also maintains the mid-tempo and shuts off abruptly with those already mentioned successful metalcore-esque grooves. Overall, Conduit
marks a progression for the band, developing into a fresher, younger sound whilst at the same time losing some of the band’s already proven and initial flair – otherwise regressing from an already successful soundscape into a trend hopping blend of young and old. This Welsh post hardcore act has, as it seems run its course. The exploration of other groups sounds do not add to this established band’s sound, nor does it really remove itself from the fact that this act didn’t really need to do anything different to appease its fan-base, or draw a new crowd in. Stylistically, Conduit
is flawless but on the back of the bands catalogue it is sub-par on almost all accounts. Comparisons will always surface when an established bands takes a slightly different approach; sometimes the work pays off, other times the band will fall squarely on their face. This time around Funeral For A Friend are somewhere in the middle with their 2013 release Conduit