Album Review
Senses Fail - Life is Not a Waiting Room Album Cover

Senses Fail - Life is Not a Waiting Room

Reviewed by
Senses FailLife Is Not A Waiting Room
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Record Label: Vagrant
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It’s amazing how one album can change the public’s perception of a band. Thanks to remarkable improvements Senses Fail made with their second album, Still Searching, many changed their opinions on the New Jersey quartet. The band had found a niche, and Life Is Not A Waiting Room progresses from the themes and vibes of its predecessor.

Senses Fail does little tinkering with their successful formula, enlisting Searching producer Brian McTernan once again to mesh the twelve tracks into a seamless journey. Still present are Garrett Zablocki and Heath Saraceno’s sick guitar riffs, as well as Dan Trapp’s persistent work behind the skins. One new wrinkle is Hot Water Music’s Jason Black temporarily filling in for the departed Mike Glita on bass. But the glue to Senses Fail is still vocalist Buddy Nielsen. Once an easy target for his vocals and lyrics, Nielson has made incredible strides in both his writing and delivery, as the whiny screams from the debut album have been replaced by unforgiving barks and his lyrics have become his own form of self-medication of anxiety and depression.

Waiting Room begins with the dreary and slow “Fireworks At Dawn,” setting up the theme of the album. It transitions into the frantic “Lungs Like Gallows,” where Nielsen vocally shreds the track. Senses Fail definitely knows how to balance aggressive verses with huge hooks. The guitars zip throughout “Garden State,” one of the catchier songs in the band’s discography. “Family Tradition” emphasizes some gang vocals in the chorus and needling riffs from Saraceno and Zablocki, while Nielson touches on addiction.

“Four Years” and “Yellow Angels” work together, displaying two different vibes (one is aggressive, the other more atmospheric), yet both come full circle with the same outros. It’s an interesting way to combine themes and portray them in two ways. Sandwiched between the two is the infectious “Ali For Cody,” which is highlighted by a pulverizing bridge and Nielsen’s improved screaming. “Map The Streets” may stick out from the other tracks, as it harkens back to some of the poppier songs the band had created earlier in their career.

In the end, Life Is Not A Waiting Room takes what worked on the previous album (big hooks, tantalizing riffs, and self-reflective lyrics) and tweaks them just a little bit. If you were a fan of Still Searching (or air-guitar), you will definitely enjoy this. Vocally, we know that Nielsen will never sound like Aaron Marsh, but he has found his niche by staying in the range of each track. His vocals will never be great, but they will never be as bad as heard on Let It Enfold You. While this album gives us nothing groundbreaking or genre-shattering, Senses Fail have created a consistent product without resorting to the trends that are abundant in the scene today. Life Is Not A Waiting Room is full of anthems, beatdowns, and is just a fun-as-hell record to rock out to. Nothing more, nothing less.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Fireworks At Dawn
2. Lungs Like Gallows
3. Garden State
4. Family Tradition
5. Wolves At The Door
6. Hair Of The Dog
7. Four Years
8. Ali For Cody
9. Yellow Angels
10. Chandelier
11. Map The Streets
12. Blackout
Produced by: Brian McTernan

Senses Fail are:
Buddy Nielsen – vocals
Garrett Zablocki – guitar
Dan Trapp – drums
Heath Saraceno – guitar

Official Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 129
11:38 PM on 10/05/08
Registered User
User Info.
cereal4life's Avatar
Nice review Drew! I don't care that Buddy doesn't sound like Aaron Marsh, I just find personally that his voice grates on me. That said, he has come a very long way vocally, especially when he screams. One thing fo sho is that Heath sure knows how to rip on the ol' geetar!
12:00 AM on 10/06/08
Sic Transit Zeb
Registered User
User Info.
Sic Transit Zeb's Avatar
Drew, this might be one of my fav reviews from you.

This was so well-written and thought out. Great, great job.

I've listened to some songs but not enough to make a decision. However, the ones i listened to I liked. good stuff so far.
01:37 AM on 10/06/08
Change isn't the same as progress
User Info.
Pawan1993's Avatar
Still Searching was better but I still think this records pretty good and Buddy has gotten better at his screaming especially.
05:16 AM on 10/06/08
Prison Strength
User Info.
hockeyguitar99's Avatar
haven't heard this yet, but Still Searching was quite enjoyable.
05:50 AM on 10/06/08
You'd be good for me
User Info.
fadedmemories's Avatar
Good review

His vocals will never be great, but they will never be as bad as heard on Let It Enfold You.
06:04 AM on 10/06/08
Don't give me no hand me down love.
User Info.
Klatzke's Avatar
Good review, mine said basically the same thing. They're the one "scene-y" band that seems to get some kind of respect.
08:47 AM on 10/06/08
User Info.
jeremypeele's Avatar
i'm going to get this soon, nice review
08:54 AM on 10/06/08
Registered User
User Info.
Guitar108's Avatar
great review - total agreement - this band is really fun, and the guitar work on this album is fantastic. if they had an incredible singer they would be unstoppable.

p.s. GREAT forgetting sarah marshall reference (on the front page) - just saw it this weekend.
08:55 AM on 10/06/08
User Info.
newfoundmichael's Avatar
Crucify me for this if you want, but I really liked Let It Enfold You and can still listen to it occasionally. I think it's because of my age at the time, and where I was in my life. I do like Still Searching and ..Waiting Room more, but nothing wrong with LIEF in my book.
08:58 AM on 10/06/08
Graduation: May 23rd
User Info.
mallyland's Avatar
I think I'm the only person who hates Still Searching, but loves Let It Enfold You.
08:59 AM on 10/06/08
User Info.
zachff's Avatar
Man, I love Let It Enfold You.. that is one of my favorite albums of the genre. It seems like LIEY was trashed a bit in this review.
09:08 AM on 10/06/08
Knicks 2017 World Champions!
User Info.
This is a pretty good album. I still prefer Still Searching but this is a pretty good follow up
09:18 AM on 10/06/08
poop butts
User Info.
weworemasks's Avatar
So long as he sings in this band no matter what they did musically they would always be a bad band and that's the cold honest truth. It's a shame because Buddy seems a real nice chap but he should pick up a guitar or drum sticks sometime.

agreed 100%. i always felt that buddy was one of the worst singers (and lyricists) from all of the bands covered regularly on this website. the musicians in the band seemed to have progressed, while he just aged. he still sounds like complete shit live, so it goes to show you the wonders of the studio.

Search News
Release Dates
Best New Music
Submit News
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
Encore Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
Encore Podcast on iTunes
Encore on Overcast
AP.net on Tumblr
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate