Finch – ‘Back To Oblivion’

By Joshua Wroath

How do you classify a comeback? In regards to Finch it’s hard to say.

Since their last break up in 2010, the band looked like they had finally succumbed to post-second album “musical differences” syndrome. Their last release, ‘Epilogue’ a collection of left over tracks from their attempted third album seemed to all but say Finch were over for good. The nails looked like they were in the coffin hard.

Pass another two years, and the band were asked if they would be interested in doing a one off 10th anniversary celebration show in honour of their 2002 break out album ‘What It Is To Burn’, an album forever cemented as an essential in the early emerging post-hardcore scene. That one show would end up being a whole international tour in turn leading to Finch finally re-gaining the confidence to record a third album, ‘Back To Oblivion’.

On first instance, it’s hard to assess the impact ‘Back to Oblivion’ is meant to have. Since their absence from the much-criticised 2005 ‘Say Hello to Sunshine’ you could argue the band needed to pull out all the stops and really deliver here to have a paddle in an endless stream of post-hardcore bands that have surfaced since their hiatus. However it seems Finch chose to ignore any expectations of progression or diversity and simply made what came naturally to them. It’s a solid performance for sure, in a ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ kind of way, but if you’re looking for innovation or a ‘Letters to You’, expect to be disappointed. To be fair, for a band in their early 30’s, expecting another WIITB (released when the boys were only 18), would be asking much.

What strikes instantly on ‘Born to Oblivion’ is the difference in Nate Barcalow’s vocals – he is using a new vocal tone and is pronouncing a lot more. The closet comparison would be Benjamin Kowalewicz of Billy Talent. That’s either going to excite you or alienate you depending on your preferences. It works in some parts, but over all it’s just a slight change in the bands sound and doesn’t dictate the album thankfully.

The music of BTO sees a sharp, cut post-hardcore sound. A larger, atmospheric theme runs through the songs more then from any other release. There isn’t the intensity of WIITB (certainly no ‘Project Mayhem’s to be heard), and it doesn’t have the necessary heaviness of SHTS, but what it may lack in, it makes up for in clarity.

Opener ‘Born to Oblivion’ is as strong as anything the band has made before. The tingling guitars are like a breath of fresh air. ‘Further from the Few’ stands out with its huge chugging guitaring and ‘Us vs Them’ holds strong with its delicate outro.

Unsurprisingly there are some misses though. ‘Play Dead’ simply goes on too long, whilst with ‘Tarot’ and ‘Inferium’ you start to see tired songs. But these are just a few hiccups that any band out of the game for so long would be bound to make; no one’s perfect.

BTO isn’t an album that will shake post-hardcore to its core then, but a solid return none the less, having enough appeal for any old school Finch fans to be excited about. It certainly won’t touch the success of WIITB, but Finch do no harm in returning with this solid, all round piece of work.

JOSHUA WROATH

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