Senses Fail
Renacer


3.5
great

Review

by Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (68 Reviews)
March 26th, 2013 | 622 replies | 41,876 views


Release Date: 03/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not a Lazarus-level reincarnation, but a very appealing one nonetheless

For me, the essential Senses Fail lyrics are heard on their song “Lifeboats.” Over a sustained guitar riff, singer Buddy Nielsen half-screams, half-speaks “I’m so pathetic, it makes me sick.” To that point, Senses Fail had just been an outlet for Nielsen’s personal discontent and vices; tales of alcoholism, visits to the therapist, substance abuse, loneliness and suicidal visions ran rampant. He had always strived to change himself, but with each album came a new set of failures and mistakes that Nielsen seemed almost too ready to share. That moment on The Fire represented him reaching rock bottom. He had always been willing to acknowledge that he screwed up but never before did he say it so bluntly.

When listening to Renacer, a verb that anyone with an elementary knowledge of Spanish will recognize as meaning “to be reborn,” it’s obvious that Nielsen is no longer the pathetic man he saw in himself three years ago. His voice is more aggressive, more confident, and the album’s tone follows suit. On “Holy Mountain,” they incorporate a bass-heavy breakdown; the title track has no clean vocals whatsoever. The group had dabbled in this style before, but it never seemed like it would become their main focus. But, after hearing Renacer, one questions why they didn’t make this album immediately after Life is not a Waiting Room because this style fits them like a glove. It’s tempting to deride Renacer as mall-core, especially since this kind of blend of pop-punk and post-hardcore was popularized by A Day to Remember, but it’s definitely different: louder and heavier than McKinnon and co. would ever dare to be.

It would be keenly poetic to call this the flight of Nielsen’s phoenix; ‘renacido’ from the ashes of The Fire and rising triumphantly to write his magnum opus, but it wasn’t meant to be. A problem that plagued Senses Fail in the past was their verse writing. The musicianship was always bland, more often than not restricted to palm-muted chords and simple hi-hat rhythms, and the lyrics were often just glorified segues that would lead into the inevitably excellent chorus. Renacer encounters an opposite problem. The verses tend to fall into the ‘adequate’ spectrum, with Nielsen’s visceral bark occasionally becoming grating due to its lack of tone, but the choruses are, on the whole, uninspiring. Were this a conventional post-hardcore album, this might not be a huge issue, but it proves to drag Renacer down only because, on “Glass” and “Ancient Tombs,” the hooks are incredible. These tracks, as good as they are, represent the moments where Senses Fail seem to waver on their current identity. Yes, Nielsen still screams, the bass still pounds, but they sound no different than they did years ago.

This lack of big choruses also means that the songs are somewhat difficult to differentiate. This is both a compliment and a critique. On one hand, it exemplifies Senses Fail’s unwavering consistency. There are a few obvious highlights on Renacer, but none of the songs are duds. It’s a marvel that this album has no tracks that stand out as easily skippable- it’s strangely cohesive. On the other hand, songs tend to blend together, especially on the first half of the album. Were it not for the Google Translate-aided lyrics on “Mi Amor” or the fast-paced intro of “Canine,” there would no defining characteristics to these songs. Renacer is an extremely cohesive effort, with only “Frost Flower” sounding solidly out-of-place, but it also doesn’t feature much musical or structural variety.

The biggest takeaway from Renacer is that the band that always ‘drove without headlights’ now seems to have a solid direction to go in. Losing their guitarist Garrett Zablocki after releasing The Fire could have been a death sentence for the band, but they chose to take his departure as a sign to move on. This was clearly the right move. Nielsen sounds firmly committed to his craft and no longer wallows in his past failures; his lyrics are now strangely mature and, at times, optimistic. The music is still straightforward, but it has a certain amount of force that it lacked in the past. The arrangements never enfold you, but their punchiness and grit are certainly obvious. Although Renacer showcases a band still in the tinkering phase, it also shows that they can pull it off.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't necessarily gonna post this but the average rating is too high

ILJ
March 26th 2013



6662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Okay I took 4 years of spanish and never did we learn what renacer meant. just sayin'. it's not really an elementary tier word.

that's irrelevant though. good review

Storm In A Teacup
March 26th 2013



12702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

You clearly don't Senses Fail properly! >&-0

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe it's not, but I know I learned "nacer" in like the first week of class. You can use common sense
to figure out what 'renacer' means lol.
@Storm I guess I don't. I'll probably never renounce "Still Searching" as my favorite

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



19672 Comments


"You clearly don't Senses Fail properly! >&-0" [2]

nah seriously good review but i disagree with a lot of what you said lol he was always an amazing lyricist and musician even before he overcame those addictions, etc.




ILJ
March 26th 2013



6662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Maybe it's not, but I know I learned "nacer" in like the first week of class. You can use common sense
to figure out what 'renacer' means lol. "

you've got yourself a point there. even then we barely mentioned it. i'm not good with foreign language

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I meant to change the Still Searching part to Life is not a Waiting Room. Couldn't remember the album
name and I skimmed it while proofing I guess. The A Day to Remember comparison was basically me saying
this is kinda pop-punky but to say it's like ADTR would be retarded.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



19672 Comments


I'm with ILJ i had no idea what renacer meant and i took 2 years of spanish lol

Storm In A Teacup
March 26th 2013



12702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@FromDaHood: Well like the others said it was still a good review. I just don't believe this album could have been made until now and I love the Fire plus Waiting Room is really great still as well. Still Searching will Likely forever be this bands trademark album to the mainstream and I'm perfectly content with that.

Xplisit
March 26th 2013



1646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

spot on 3rd paragraph. couldnt agree more about glass and ancient tombs being highlights

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



19672 Comments


every song is a highlight

MuhNamesTyler
March 26th 2013



3860 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I'd have to say Glass is my favorite so far

Xplisit
March 26th 2013



1646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ahaha atari stop inviting me to troll you and your absurd hyperbole

Xplisit
March 26th 2013



1646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

andcas i liked you better when you just kept repeatedly posting "you havent listened"

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2013



19672 Comments


i'm not exaggerating. I might like some songs slightly more than others but I think the album is fantastic as a whole. there isn't a song I don't enjoy and even the fire had some songs i would skip sometimes.

Storm In A Teacup
March 26th 2013



12702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Atari is right you just don't get it because you just don't get it.

Xplisit
March 26th 2013



1646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"your rating is still wrong"

and let me guess, yours is right?

that makes ataris wrong, btw

Xplisit
March 26th 2013



1646 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

: ( .

lachis
March 26th 2013



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Wasn't necessarily gonna post this but the average rating is too high"

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8xc1rMyyH1rbw6bto1_250.gif


Good review though. Disagree, but yeah.

lachis
March 26th 2013



240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and I'll always think Buddy's lowest point was during LINAWR. Just go and listen to the lyrics of Ali for Cody.

I have failed but I'm used to it
The past is just that it's a sunken old ship
There will be moments
I pretend that I can raise it up, up out from the depths

Who the fuck am I kidding?
I was born with the curse of always giving in
Every day is another chance to make peace with myself
But I would rather play dead

anyway, irrelevant. just wanted to throw in my 2 cents.



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