2. Holy Mountain
3. Mi Amor
5. The Path
8. Ancient Tombs
9. Frost Flower
10. Snake Bite
11. Courage of the Knife
12. Between the Mountains and the Sea
First and foremost, I’m gonna start this review with a statement you may not be willing to hear: Senses Fail as you’ve either come to love or loathe… is dead.
I’ve always had a “love/hate” relationship with Senses Fail’s albums. Every single album has had a few songs within which I’ve connected completely. Whether it was just the guitar work, the vocal melodies, or just the emotion that comes across in the track. And then, there are those few tracks on each release that I’ve never warmed up to. Tracks, that when comprised with the rest of the album, just never seemed whole. Almost as if the track listing (as far as only a few songs on each album are concerned) was an afterthought while writing.
Renacer however, is not one of those albums. Every track, every tone change, every story, seems carefully, if not PAINFULLY, laid out where it should. One of the reasons might be the fact that the entire songwriting format and structure has changed. With the departure of longtime guitarist/primary songwriter Garret Zablocki, came new blood to the band. Well, new to Senses Fail, at least. Zack Roach and Matt Smith aren’t exactly new to the scene. Zack coming out of Kansas City’s Spirit of the Stairs, and Matt pulling double duty in Senses fail and melodic hardcore outfit Strike Anywhere.
Two years ago, if you would have asked me to name a few bands off the top of my head that sounded like Senses Fail, you’d get a WAY different answer than you would now. You can definitely tell Matt Smith’s had a big influence in the songwriting, with every song sounding more and more like Strike Anywhere, but with a tinge of Defeater mixed in there as well. At first listen, the album has a very “angry” feel to it, tonally. However, if you actually pay attention to Buddy’s lyrics, there is this reoccurring theme of hope and positivity. his lyrics are way less-vague, more literal and to the point.
Overall, a great record. The only thing that even slightly disappoints me(personally) is the production, and not in a major way. With the last three albums being recorded with Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studio, and Renacer being tracked at Shaun Lopez’s The Airport Studio in Los Angeles, this record has a more “closed off” feel as far as the drums are concerned. Compressed, even. The rest of the album is recorded well though. The guitars, bass, and vocals are all in your face and pretty unwilling to back down from there.
8 1/2 out of 10