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
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.
1. The Rapture
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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