Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Senses Fail comes up short with new album

Life Is Not A Waiting Room
Senses Fail

Reviewed by Chris Douglass

To date, Senses Fail have put together several solid full-length albums. Still Searching presented a power that many may not have thought they had in them and although it wasn’t a ground breaking album, it stood strong in its time. Today with Life Is Not A Waiting Room, the band continues to make mature steps in their writing without ever denying who they are.

Fans who have high hopes for Life Is Not A Waiting Room may feel that Senses Fail simply fell short this time. The opening track, “Fireworks at Dawn,” is relatively sub-par and may make a new listener question whether or not they just threw their money away. This song probably should have given up its position to its follower, “Lungs Like Gallows” (which kicks so much ass it would be a surprise if it wasn’t a “Still Searching” B-Side that was just too good even for the deluxe edition). So for those doubting their purchase, rest assured this album is still a 10-spot well spent.

If it wasn’t apparent before that vocalist Buddy Nielsen has a drinking problem, he continues to let it be known on this album—seriously, it would not be a surprise if their merch table started selling shot glasses. Nielsen wastes no time in the opener by singing “Fireworks at dawn as I sip for assistance. This flask keeps me calm…” or by beginning “Four Years” with the words, “I take a shot of Jameson or Jack to start the morning off with old friends.”

Continuing on one will hear lines like “Here is my own family tradition; Following footsteps into addiction. So is there a way that I can find peace while still numbing my pain?” This is the self reflection that listeners have come to expect from Senses Fail’s lyrics about feeling sorry for one’s self. As long as one can piece together the positive aspects of the message, it can actually be a motivating album.

Unfortunately, Life Is Not A Waiting Room is not undeniably catchy like prior albums. This isn’t to say that fans aren’t going to enjoy the music, but it just won’t hold high to the memory of songs they’ve grown to love, sing, and scream.

Optimistically, guitar riffs and solos find themselves magnificently littered throughout the record, leaving one to think it was submitted as a Guitar Hero 4 tryout. Senses Fail doesn’t try to drown the songs in any sort of musical expertise or experimentation, but what has been written makes the album that much more pleasant to listen to.

It seems apparent that only a few fans are going to find a new favorite song off of this record. On the same note (and as a means of precaution), no potential fan should be introduced to this album first. Life Is Not A Waiting Room does, however, hold Senses Fail’s spot in credibility and ability to record, tour, and thrive as a band.

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