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Senses Fail
Still Searching
Vagrant Records

Senses Fail gives the state of New Jersey another reason to be proud. The natives of Ridgewood, New Jersey have released their second full length studio album Still Searching, continuing on their path of hardcore/punk permeations that established them back in 2004 with their debut album Let It Enfold You and their 2003 EP From The Depths Of Dreams. Still Searching, produced by Brian McTernan (Circa Survive, Thrice, Moneen), sets the quintet up on the same tier as Avenged Sevenfold, Silverstein, and Killswitch Engage.

The songs crossbreed loudness and athleticism with melodic signatures. Their multi-tracked cacophonies are introspective expressions, as shown in their DVD The Making Of Still Searching, which accompanies the CD. You see first hand how "gang vocal parts" and songs made from up to 64 instrumental parts are compiled. The DVD gives an overview of how the album was recorded in a rustic looking barn (a former cedar mill) located in Bearsville, New York. The individual band members Buddy Nielsen (lead vocals/lyrics), Michael Glita (bass/backup vocals), Dan Trapp (drums/backup vocals), Heath Saraceno (guitar/backup vocals), and Garrett Zablocki (guitar/backup vocals) graft punk/rock sears with a Sugarcult exponential likeness and bond them with a mix of singing and screamo vocals. Nielsen's vocals mulch into the intertwining guitars and pounding rhythms and create a melodic balance that is fast paced, loud, and mercurial.

Opening the album with the shaking quavers of "The Rapture", the band lines up stomping beats and racy guitars in the queue. The album continues with rocket speed tempos on "Bonecrusher" and "Sick Or Sane", exhibiting an athletic quality and high velocity in their chord fragments. The super sonic guitar grazes on "Can't Be Saved" are suctioned into the bass crevices making for a mega rush. The rashness of the guitar strokes clasp the revolving drum and bass runs moving the punk/rock textures at 60 knots with "Shark Attack." The guttural vocal tones and lengthy hardcore guitar tensions on "Still Searching" move at full throttle, amplifying the high strung swells.

The rhythmic crests move with the raging vocals on "Lost And Found" and create openings for the vocal releases calling out, "Twenty days at sea/ My skin is blistered from the heat/ I can beg and I can plead/ What I get is never what I need." Nielsen's lyrics use symbolism and analogies to express emotions. It's a telltale sign of hardcore parquets relating metaphors to reality and using deliriously fast fretted guitars for atmosphere. Senses Fail evolves into softer running melodies with the quasi-ballad "Everyday Is A Struggle" and "The Priest And The Matador." The tight torque of the vocal clamps are roped into the corded guitars and rhythm sections. The crisp xylophone notes on the overture "Negative Space" cool off the fast action and magnifying reverberation and offers some brightness through the dark hardcore channels.

Trapp tells on the DVD that "these songs will kick you square in the dick." Whereas, Glita emphatically proclaims that Dan's drums "sound f@%king sweet…I've never heard something sound so sweet." Guitarists Saraceno and Zablocki playing off each other are equally as sweet, as are the sections of gang vocal parts when all five members sing through the choruses. It all came out sweet.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. The Rapture
2. Bonecrusher
3. Sick Or Sane (Fifty For A Twenty)
4. Can't Be Saved
5. Calling All Cars
6. Shark Attack
7. Still Searching
8. To All The Crowded Rooms
9. Lost And Found
10. Everyday Is A Struggle
11. All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues
12. Negative Space
13. The Priest And The Matador

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