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Album Review: Senses Fail - 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart'

6 July 2015 | 10:33 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Senses Fail take fans on an emotive and raw journey that will leave listeners in awe.

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Senses Fail's new record  ‘Pull The Thorns From Your Heart’ is an emotive journey through the depths of the post-hardcore genre, from its heaviest, more imposing potential, to the gentle and sensitive elements that equally represent the genre.

Spanning eleven tracks, the New Jersey outfit's sixth LP launches into immediate action with opening track 'The Three Marks of Existence', a two-minute hardcore punk ode. The album continues on a self-imposed roller coaster type pace early, often alternating between riff-heavy, hardcore styled tracks and softer, more melody-driven tracks. However, one thing is clear, whether Senses Fail are presenting themselves at their softest or at their most aggressive; it is done in a well-cultivated and passionate way. 'Carry The Weight', one of the more melodic tracks on the LP, reintroduces Nielsen's clean voice to the listener. Deep and intense, this track sets the emotive tone for the whole record, allowing the listener to understand the mix of angst and sorrow behind Senses Fail and their music.

Instrumentally the record is diverse. Tracks such as 'Dying Words' can be rather riff-centric, Zack Roach and Matt Smith’s guitars are driven by a sludgy/thrashy influence at times and in the previously mentioned track even the inclusion of sparing blast beats courtesy of Chris Hornbrook (Poison the Well), whose newly added drumming abilities are truly highlighted throughout, complement the album's entire tone.

However, while the full-length can, at times, be very driven by its underlying post-hardcore roots, it also makes time for melodic tracks that highlight the intensity and emotion behind the band, from the clean, but still heavy guitar/bass lines to the passionate vocals. Tracks such as 'Surrender' show the versatility, and dynamic of the album proving that Senses Fail is more than just a bunch of driving riffs thrown together behind a pit call. In saying that however, the pit call of “TAKE REFUGE!” in track 'Take Refuge' highlights the heavy side of Nielsen’s vocal abilities and is one of the significant heavier moments on the record.

One of the many things that sets 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart' apart from others is the lyrical quality and content. The album touches on concepts of mental illness, sexuality, letting go of the past and moving on to better and brighter things; self-love, and inner peace. Tracks such as 'Carry The Weight' highlight some of the lyrical themes before the rest of the record allows itself to expand on these concepts, with lyrics such as, “I hope you never know what it’s like to hide a piece of yourself inside, or to be so fucking ashamed you’d rather kill yourself than be alive” (Carry The Weight), as well as “wounds that never heal are the ones you refuse to see, be the change you seek” (Wounds).

From its blistering heavy start, to its melodic, climactic end, 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart' is an emotive voyage: a 41-minute journey into the thoughts and most inner monologues of Senses Fail, and their frontman and lyricist Buddy Nielsen. Fans of the band will be more than impressed with the group’s latest record as it leaves you with many enjoyable and memorable tracks, as well as a heartwarming feeling.

1. The Three Marks Of Existence

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2. Carry The Weight

3. The Courage Of An Open Heart

4. Wounds

5. Take Refuge

6. Surrender

7. Dying Words

8. The Importance of The Moment Of Death

9. Pull The Thorns From Your Heart

10. We All Are Returning Home

11. My Fear Of An Unlived Life