Album Review: Senses Fail – “Pull The Thorns From Your Heart”

This album is a call to arms and not in the typical way. The music is heavy and the lyrics carry similar weight, but not in the way you might think.

From the first track you know that this isn’t the same Senses Fail that wrote their breakout album Let It Enfold You. It’s not even the same band that wrote Still Searching, and really, they’re definitely closer to the sound they created on Renacer, but even so, this album feels like a much more polished effort. The drums sound more solid, the vocals hit harder, and their lyrics are some of the most honest that vocalist Buddy Nielsen has ever written.

Like I was saying, the first track “The Three Marks of Existence” comes in swinging. His harsh, growled vocals screaming “Cultivate the change you seek / Love is not a song sung by the weak” set the tone for most of the album. Many of the album’s tracks have this very hardcore punk feel to them akin to Terror or Hatebreed even. The slow, punctual drums that start up songs like the opener and “The Courage of an Open Heart” sound incredible. Gone are the screams that filled older songs like “Irony of Dying On Your Birthday” and instead are the harsh growls in “The Courage of an Open Heart.” It’s incredible what his change in vocal style can do for these new songs.

Senses Fail takes the heavier sound they formed on Renacer and push it to an entirely new level. Things like the rough vocals of “just let go” chanted in “Take Refuge” set a firm tone in this new era of the band. But really it’s just as much the weight of what he’s saying that makes this album their heaviest yet. Take these lyrics written in “Wounds”:

“There are moments of extreme joy,
there are moments of love,
there are moments of madness
And this is life; we cannot change what arises,
only how we greet it”

These are some of their most honest lyrics yet. You can hear the inner struggles with feeling loved throughout Pull the Thorns From Your Heart. This is second verse in my favorite track on the album “The Importance of the Moment of Death”:

“No one should ever be judged for who they love.
No one should ever have to be afraid.
There is so much grace in being vulnerable.
There is so much beauty in being brave.”

and stands out so much for its honesty. Nielsen’s endeavor toward equality and love is heard loud and clear in these lyrics. If you’ve followed Senses Fail on Twitter or Facebook or seen them live in the past six months you’d realize that Nielsen has been very vocal about struggles with equality for all forms of gender and sexuality. These pleas are heard loud and clear on this newest album.

Of course, for how heavy I’ve described this album to be, there are definitely moments where the band slows down their new style and really forms an almost shoe-gaze sound. This is especially present on their track “Surrender” that features prominent shoe-gaze elements like noisy, distorted guitars and understated, subdued vocals. Yet, towards the bridge that follows through the end of the song you can really feel their developed take on the sound as you hear the screams of “this is  your way out” underneath the croon of “don’t let your heartbeat turn to stone.”  Songs like “Carry the Weight” and “The Fear of an Unlived Life” follow the same suit in similar regard to musical style.

The evolution in sound started on Renacer has definitely come to head on Pull The Thorns From Your Heart. The heavy-hitting lyrics coupled with the heavily developed new musical style carry this band’s weight to a higher plane. Through brutal, honest lyrics and some of the tightest hardest riffs the band has written, Senses Fail is a band to be reckoned with in 2015.

Purchase on iTunes here.
Listen to featured track “The Importance of the Moment of Death” here:

-CM

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