Senses Fail – Renacer
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Record Label: Staple
During the weeks leading up to the release of Senses Fail’s new album, Renacer, a lot of people have been using terms like “rebirth” or “renewed” to describe the change of pace in Senses Fail’s sound. While those phrases certainly fit into a nice, tidy narrative for some, the reason why Senses Fail has released its best album ever is because they have nothing to lose.
With no outside pressure to sell “x” amount of records or write a hit song, the Jersey quartet grouped together to unleash a fury previous Senses Fail records never possessed. The band no longer had to worry about second opinions coming from outside voices, thus giving Senses Fail the opportunity to strip down its previous sound and build it from scratch. Let’s be honest, this isn’t a band that needed a “rebirth”- the band’s previous few records are beloved by its fan base. But from the very first chords of the destructive title track to the final ones of the soaring “Between The Mountain and The Sea,” all you’ll hear is a reinvigorated band that was left for dead creating its most passionate and honest music yet.
The aforementioned title track opens up Renacer with a punishing riff and vocalist Buddy Nielsen’s distinct growl before ripping into a blistering hardcore song – it sets the tone of the album and informs the listener that this is a whole new ballgame for Senses Fail. “Holy Mountain” thrashes through like the offspring of Illusion of Safety-era Thrice and Underoath, as its colossal breakdown will bring you to your knees.
Undoubtedly, Senses Fail take a lot of chances on Renacer. Ever wanted to hear a blistering punk song that is sung almost completely in Spanish (Mi Amor)? Done. How about some sludgy metal (Frost Flower)? Boom. But the element that fans will be talking about is the album’s heaviness and the variety within. No idea is repeated twice here – whether it’s a pit-igniter (Canine) or a dickripper (the pulverizing “Ancient Tombs,” which features stellar drumming from Dan Trapp) Senses Fail throws curves and slurves throughout.
Produced by Shaun Lopez (Far, Deftones), the sound and shape of each Renacer is clean and spacious. The album’s ambient moments are allowed to breathe, which makes the heavier moments hit even harder. There are no better examples than “The Path” and “Glass,” with the former feeling like it’d be a perfect fit on Around The Fur. “Glass” is easily one of the band’s best-composed songs to date – invoking atmospheric verses that move at a glacial pace that eventually build into its massive bridge. It’s crisp and packs a wallop.
Another change is Nielsen’s newfound positivity in his lyrics. It’s no secret that a lot of doom and gloom has peppered such fan favorites as Still Searching and The Fire, so the new perspective might jar listeners at first, but ultimately they’ll realize that this is Nielsen’s best work. Topics include taking chances (Don't be afraid/to stumble and weep./Enjoy the journey/even when its steep from “The Path”), finding your way (Fuck what you know/fuck what you believe/I am the architect of my destiny from “Canine”), and choosing love over hate ("There is no flower like love"/"No misfortune like hate"/There is no pain in my body/There's only peace from “Ancient Tombs”), amongst others. But don’t mistake Renacer as some sappy story, as Nielsen is still as honest as ever (It doesn't matter if you fall down/Get the fuck back up).
Renacer is summed up perfectly by the introspective closer, “Between The Mountains and The Sea," a slow-burning number that dabbles in some shoegaze elements in the verses before bursting into its triumphant finish. It serves as a reflection of the band's past decade as well as propelling them into its second, as Nielsen meets the crescendo with a passionate You got nothing to lose. Nielsen asks the listeners, and ultimately himself, And do you ever ask yourself/If the person that you are/Is the person you were meant to be? It's a tough question we all face eventually. With Renacer, we hear Senses Fail's answer loud and clear.
Hmm. I feel like I need to give this a shot. It doesn't sound like the SF I initially fell in love with so I didn't want to at first, but it does sound promising. Ambience and shoegazy shit amidst heavy, sludgy metal, etc sounds like both something great on its own and very different for this band.
At first I felt like it was too heavy and didnt like half of the songs. I been listening to the record non stop and now I fully love it, itll probably become my favorite SF release yet. The lyrics are so positive and bold and the guitar work is just insane. I really hope this record puts SF back on the map!