Pull The Thorns From Your Heart
Release Date: 30 June 2015
Pure Noise Records
Review by Alex Sievers
I love it when bands evolve and change up their sound. Absolutely love it I tells ya. As for New Jersey’s Senses Fail, when they released their equally aggressive and overly melodic ripper, Renancer, I wasn’t just on-board, I was helping to sail the goddamn ship.
Sure, it wasn’t quite their best album, but it was still great in it’s own right. The heavier tendencies of the band really shun through on that record, and their knack for great song writing and hooks were all still in tact, so I was more than happy to experience this heavier direction, and I wished they would pursue this heavier sound even further. And so, unlike my fantasy of waking up in bed, being glazed and bathed in salted caramel and fed delicious grapes via toga-wearing servants, this progression from the band actually came to fruition.
Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is easily the most cohesive, the most consistent and is easily their greatest triumphant, and I will back that up until my last breath. Why? Because this record is not so much a change of form as it is a natural progression for the quintet. From the get-go, the shredding punk rock two-minute banger of The Three Marks Of Existence and the more melodic, mid-tempo confessional of Carry The Weight, you’ll realize that there’s two very awesome, very distinct sounds to be found on this album.
See, on one side is the darker, heavier representation of the group, comprised of faster tempos, guitar chugs, screaming, and a strong, gritty hardcore mentality. Then there’s the counterpart; the dynamic, melodic side of the group, that is littered with soaring clean vocals, melodic-focused guitars, and an emphasis on sing-alongs, but it’s never done in a cheesy way. Now, I am rarely even a fan of bands jumping between clean, ‘poppy’ songs and heavier, more aggressive tracks, but this duality and contrast is executed superbly. Considering that the album deals with duality as a conceptual and spiritual reflection of singer James ‘Buddy’ Nielsen’s change in lifestyle (which he documents and reflects on throughout) over the past couple years, and thus it’s all intended and totally necessary.
So… to the songs! The Courage Of An Open Heart is a bone-crushingly heavy song (well, at least for Senses Fail) and is one pit-call and breakdown away from being full on down tempo track. Keeping things heavy, tracks like ‘We Are All Returning Home‘ kick off with blast beats and some pretty low growls, and then – whoa! Wait just a f*cking minute, blast beats…in a Senses Fail song…what? Yep, I shit you not, the band have really gone heavier than I, or most other people, would have ever thought possible.
Somewhere in the middle of this duality lies Wounds and closer My Fear Of An Unlived Life, which merge both styles of the band together. This isn’t a half-arsed attempt at cohesiveness, as both are done very well, and with the spine-tingly vocal and guitar melodies of the latter, the album closes out on such a high note that it’s getting light-headed.
There is not one song on Pull The Thorn From Your Heart that I didn’t enjoy, and after multiple listens, I honestly have to say that you’re a foolish fool if you give this a record a miss.
Senses Fail – you’ve out-f*cking-done yourselves this time round.