Senses Fail – Renacer
Record Label: Staple Records
Release Date: March 26th 2013
There are a lot of bands in music today that I’ve always wanted to get into, but for whatever reason, I didn’t. A few bands I can name off the top of my head that I’ve always wanted to get into were Say Anything, Three Days Grace, and finally, NJ post-hardcore band Senses Fail. This is a band that I’ve seen a lot, but for whatever reason, they always went past my radar. I’m not sure why, because after listening to new record Renacer, I’m certainly interested in their past catalog. This is where it gets interesting, though: I’ve heard that this record is a bit of a “reinvention” of their sound, so it’s completely different from anything they’ve done in the past, which makes me even more curious, because I thought this was record was great. It combined sludge metal, post-hardcore, and even some ambient/experimental elements. My review comes from an interesting perspective, just because as someone who’s never listened to this band before, so the first record I listen to by them is one that completely changes their sound. Ultimately, I feel as though I’m going into this with a bit less bias than most fans, because I’ve never listened to their prior material, so I’m merely just going to talk about what I’m hearing, and I have nothing else to compare it to. As I mentioned, this record is really interesting to me because it has a really cool array of influences, sludge metal, post-hardcore, and ambience. The overall sound of the record is really nothing I’ve heard before, and that’s a reason I really like it, but the 43-minute record does tend to run together at some points. It’s not a terrible record, by no means, and there are some awesome moments, but there are some moments on here that just don’t do anything for me, really.
The record begins with the title track, and that makes me a bit skeptical, just because the title track appearing in the beginning of a record is an interesting thing. Thankfully, though, the record begins with a bang as vocalist Buddy Neilsen screams up a storm. His screams are fantastic, and they definitely add to the heaviness of the instrumentation. It’s also the second shortest song on the record at 2 and a half minutes, but it packs a very huge punch. The title track leads right into “Holy Mountain,” which shows off Neilsen’s clean vocals. In all honesty, they’re not as great as his screams, but there are some nice moments where they shine. Most of the record at this point does follow a bit of a formula, but at the same time, there’s enough variety in this record to keep it fresh. Third track “Mi Amor” is a perfect example. If you ever wanted to hear a post-hardcore band sing a love song almost entirely in Spanish, you’ve come to the right place. That song is easily one of my favorites. Lyrically, the record isn’t half bad, but there are some very interesting places on it, specifically “Mi Amor.” That’s one song where the lyrics are really cool, mainly because they’re in Spanish for the majority of the track. The following track “Closure/Rebirth” is another interesting track for me, because the lyrics talk about a rebirth, as the title says, and I feel as though the band might be talking about themselves, because they’re going through a rebirth, so to speak.
As the record goes on, a lot of the songs sound quite similar, in all honesty. That goes back to what I said about the record having a bit of a formula, but there are a few unique and worthwhile moments here. Sixth track “Canine” has some really cool lyrics, and following track “Glass” features more of Neilsen’s clean vocals. Most of the tracks do, but these are a lot more ambient, and really make for a nice contrast with his harsh vocals. I also really enjoy the lyrics on this track as well. Despite the next few tracks being very enjoyable, the track that really gets my attention is closing track “Between the Mountains and the Sea.” It’s a much more stripped down track, compared to the album opener, which I like, because it’s much more relaxed and ambient. It’s a nice way to close out the record. To put it simply, this record is a nice 43-minute burst of post-hardcore. There are a lot of interesting moments, and songs, like the title track, “Mi Amor,” “Closure/Rebirth,” and “Canine,” and while every song is quite enjoyable, it does run together sometimes, and that’s a bit of a nitpick, but I see this a lot within the genre, and I can’t help but get a bit bothered by it. Regardless, this is a nicely well made post-hardcore record with a few more influences aside from that. It’s not straightforward, so it’s not generic whatsoever, and there is some variety, but overall, it does tend to run together a bit. Despite that, if you’re a fan of the band, you may enjoy this, or you may not. It’s kind of up for grabs, considering the band’s sound is a bit different now.