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Senses Fail – Renacer (Staple Records)

Senses Fail are a band who once adorned the t-shirts and posters of skinny boys in eye-liner and fat girls in even more eye-liner. Their macabre fusion of metal hooks and occasionally violent, always emotional lyricism resonated within the skinny jeaned contingency almost globally. And then the band, like emo culture as a whole, fell into relative obscurity. At least further afield than America anyway. Now, three years after the releases of The Fire comes the band’s fifth studio album Renacer and rarely has an album been more aptly named.

Meaning “to be reborn” when translated from Spanish, Renacer has done exactly that for a band who’s popularity had waned dramatically, the music is still very much the Senses Fail of yesteryear; however, with the ‘rebirth’ comes a serious increase in heaviness bringing with it heavy increase in seriousness. No longer do the songs border on the tongue-in-cheek, emo lyricism of the band’s earlier releases. Instead the lyrics harbour a much more optimistic outlook. A far cry from such lyrics as “I went to your grave/dug up your body/Brought it to my house/where you lay”. Indeed, Renacer might be a much darker album than previous Senses Fail forays, at least musically, but it’s this darkness that allows the lyrical and thematic juxtaposition to manifest itself across the course of the record.

There’s an eclectic amalgamation of sounds and aesthetics on offer within Renacer. Album opener and titular track ‘Renacer’ is a guttural kick to the stomach and immediately asserts the album’s overall feel. Whereas songs such as ‘Between the Mountains and the Sea’ are much more complex both musically and in terms of structure.

The whole album purports a sense of genre nostalgia whilst at the same time managing to feel like a bold and fresh direction for the band to go in. ‘Canine’ is evocative of some of the genres more seminal bands such as Funeral for A Friend or Atreyu. Combining furious verses with emotive and impactive choruses that could uplift even the most morose of emo kids has always been a staple of “metalcore” (does anyone still use that word?), but it’s a convention that Senses Fail dipped their toes in before but whole heartedly jump in to with Renacer.

For those fans who never left, Renacer is the album that they’ve been waiting for since 2006’s Still Searching, while for those unfamiliar with the band’s back catalogue it’s a perfect place to start. The album flits between breakneck verses, anthemic choruses and jugular-aimed breakdowns at such a speed that you’d be forgiven for expecting the album to come off as erratic and disjointed. In actual fact, it feels the exact opposite. The transition from song to song is almost always perfect and rarely does anything feel overstretched or outdated. What Senses Fail have done here, is create an album which is unmistakably theirs, only with it, they’ve rewritten everything it ever meant to be Senses Fail. Paradoxic that may be, but listen to Renacer and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

[Rating:4]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM4dZs_VCKk

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.