Senses Fail – ‘Renacer’

By Clara Cullen

Taken from the Spanish ‘to be reborn’ or ‘to revive’, ‘Renacer’ smacks of a band desperate to try something new. This is not necessarily a bad thing – Senses Fail are taking an obvious step outside of their norm with a considerable increase in heavy guitar riffs and unclean vocals – however the album will not let listeners forget its brandished purpose. Marketed as a new beginning, ten years down the line, ‘Renacer’ screams midlife crisis.

Initially, Senses Fail struggle to distance themselves from worn-out clichés. Despite throwing audiences in at the deep end with the explosive title track – the opening notes reminiscent of Deftones before making way for Buddy Nielson’s newly discovered hardcore vocals and breakdowns – the overall quality of the record wavers incessantly. Exciting as their new direction may be to some, the pool of influences are so varied that some tracks end up borrowing from ambiguous sources.

As such, this immense concoction of styles do not create a cohesive record, the result being that ‘Renacer’ is an album of inconsistency. ‘Mi Amor’ for example loans more than a little from Latin-American nu-metallers Ill Nino, while on ‘Closure/Rebirth’ the band amalgamates the vocal harmonies and melodies that have defined Senses Fail since 2004’s ‘Let It Unfold You’ with both drawn-out refrains and prominent atmospherics. Evidentially the band sound tighter when they rein in their rebirth and instead allow the heavier music to guide their individual style.

Despite the occasional foray into suspicious genre territory, ‘Renacer’ remains immediately gripping. The change in direction, while not always hitting the mark, has given Senses Fail their most engaging album in some years. The quality of tracks such as ‘Glass’, ‘Ancient Tombs’ and the opening title track outweighing the discrepancies. By pushing the tempo to the limit and distancing itself from any of the band’s back-catalogue ‘Renacer’ is unquestionably courageous. Although it may occasionally present itself as the midlife crisis induced Porsche, it cannot be argued that Senses Fail do not deserve the luxury.


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