Review Summary: It's No 'Casually Dressed', but Funeral have crafted another superb album
Funeral for a Friend's 2011 album Welcome Home Armageddon was a true return to form for the band. It returned the band to their signature Post Hardcore sound that they became famous for after briefly flirting with alternative rock for a couple of albums (2007's 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves' and 2008's 'Memory and Humanity'). Their follow up album, 'Conduit', while not as fantastic as 'Welcome Home Armageddon', or their 2003 debut album 'Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation', is still a superb album which delves further into the direction the band started building towards with Welcome Home Armageddon.
In terms of sound, 'Conduit' is a lot heavier than any of it's predecessors. It still has the band's trademark sound, but it also has a heavy influence of old school Hardcore bands such as 'Boysetsfire' and 'Snapcase'. A great example is the single 'Best Friends and Hospital Beds', a song which contains the trademark heavy and melodic parts which the band are known for, but with more of a Hardcore influence. The songs themselves are rather short, with only 'Death Comes To Us All' and 'High Castles' being longer than 3 minutes. This can be a problem, since it can make the listener crave for more, but the songs themselves are brilliant, mosh worthy songs which I can imagine would be great to hear in a live atmosphere.
While it's for the most part a much heavier album, it still has the sense of melody that Funeral have used in the past. Opening track 'Spine', for example, starts of with a slow-ish melodic, spooky riff, before going into a riff which oozes melody as much as it hits hard. Single 'The Distance' is another great example, with a great chorus hook which wouldn't sound place alongside the band's older material.
The guitar playing is a little bit more downplayed than it has been on previous releases, not containing as many complex riffs as other releases, but the riffs themselves work really well, packing a big punch which serves the songs well. However, there are songs which allow guitarist Kris Roberts and Gavin Burrough to shine through, with 'Nails' containing some impressive sweep picking from Kris towards the end. Songs such as 'Conduit', 'Death Comes To Us All', 'Grey', and 'Elements' also have some impressive riffs.
Another point to make about this album is the vocals: for quite a few of the songs, vocalist Matt Davies adopts a more husky, Hardcore styled shout, presumably to make up for the lack of screams from former drummer/screamer Ryan Richards. However, considering the Hardcore feel the album has, these vocals don't sound out of place, and suit songs such as the title track, the aforementioned 'Best Friends and Hospital Beds', 'Death Comes To Us All', and 'Grey'.
In terms of the drumming, Funeral's latest recruit Pat Lundy provides some great drum lines which compliment the songs on offer here. His drum parts really shine through on songs such as 'Conduit', 'Best Friends and Hospital Beds', 'Nails', 'Grey', and 'High Castles'.
Overall, Funeral for a Friend have crafted another brilliant album with 'Conduit'. It's a bit different to the rest of their discography, and it's not as good as some of the other albums that they've produced, but they have produced a great album. My only real issue being that the songs themselves are a bit short, but asides from that, a damn good album.
Best Friends and Hospital Beds
Death Comes To Us All