Review Summary: Is it possible to reinvent yourself?
What would you do if everything you've ever loved was taken away from you? Perhaps more importantly, is it possible for someone to reinvent themselves and change the way they think? These are the kinds of questions we must face as we dive into Senses Fail’s Renacer
. It's the band's most thought-provoking release to date but it may take time for some to adjust to the heavier sound. Even as a devout fan of the band’s music, their newest album took some patience before it really began to sink in. Once the songs hit you however, they hit you hard.
Now that I’ve fully digested the monster that is Renacer
, I can say with confidence that this is Senses Fail’s most ambitious album to date. The album flows rather smoothly as a whole and all the songs seem to be naturally connected to each other. Some may miss the clean vocals that were the backbone of songs like ‘Calling All Cars’ or ‘Family Tradition,’ but thankfully Buddy hasn’t abandoned the clean vocals entirely. In fact, nearly every song features a cleanly sung chorus that serves as a nice break between Buddy’s most earth-shattering screams to date. The first two singles released for the album, ‘Mi Amor’ and ‘The Path’ paint a rather clear picture of what to expect from Renacer.
Both songs are creative and aggressive, much like the album itself. Buddy sounds like an absolute barbarian as he screams in Spanish on ‘Mi Amor’ and listeners will find it hard not to bang their heads to the edgy, fast-paced nature of ‘The Path.’
However, unlike The Fire
or Still Searching
, this isn’t exactly an album with just a few stand-out tracks. The entire album should be listened to as a whole as it almost plays out like a journey and all the songs compliment each other nicely (both lyrically and musically). For this reason, it’s truly difficult to pick out the best tracks, but as usual they open and close the album with a bang. ‘Renacer’ is a relentless opener which gets the listener thinking right off the bat as Buddy shouts “When you look in the mirror are you proud of what you see?” It’s the only song to feature no clean vocals and it sets the tone perfectly for the sheer heaviness of the album. The guitars and drums are also louder than ever and they keep the album going strong all the way until the epic album closer ‘Between the mountains and the Sea.’ Although it’s slower paced than the other songs, it’s one of the most atmospheric tracks on the album and it really seems to take its time. However, it’s not until the second half of the song that it reaches its full potential with meaty guitar solos and huge choruses as Buddy closes out the album in fashion.
Buddy’s gut-wrenching screams really are one of the highlights of Renacer
, but it’s the passionate lyrics behind these screams that make the songs so meaningful. Although some of the lyrics are dark, most of them are full of optimism and seem to be a real turning point for Buddy as a lyricist. For the first time ever, he’s openly singing about love and accepting change in his life. These things may seem arbitrary to some, but those who know of Buddy’s alcoholism and inner-struggles will be deeply moved by the encouraging shift in Buddy’s lyrical themes.
Apart from the new confidence heard in Buddy’s vocals and the most inspirational lyrics he’s written to date, this album also benefits greatly from improved production. While The Fire
had a slightly more raw sound (which worked well for that album), the change in production was necessary for the groundbreaking sound of Renacer
. Because the production is so outstanding, the listener will notice things they didn’t hear before with each new play through of the album. At first the highlight will be Buddy’s brutal screams, then you’ll start to really dig the guitar-work, and finally the beats and the drums will start to stand out more. All these parts work together to craft a masterpiece and the production is simply the glue that holds it all together.
The album title Renacer
means to be reborn and this theme is present throughout the listening experience. Whether Buddy is singing about finding the beauty in change or asking questions that are hard to answer, the album tends to resonate in one’s mind. It’s not just an album you skim through once. You listen to the entire thing, from beginning to end and you start to realize the album’s true potential more and more with every inspiring listen. Any album that makes you question the meaning of life and even encourages you to better yourself as a person, well, sounds like a classic to me. So maybe it’s time to ask yourself, are you everything you thought you could be?