Senses Fail Renacer Album Cover
Credit: Senses Fail Renacer cover 2013

Senses Fail has been in the post-hardcore scene for over 10 years, and for a band of this particular persuasion, that is an ungodly long amount of time. Considering that most of the group's peers have disbanded years ago, and a few have aged painfully, it is a shock that Senses Fail even retain a semblance of their former selves. this is fascinating, and worth trying to figure out why. Well, I suppose the easy answer is that they are really popular. Where less popular groups like Hidden in Plain View disbanded, Senses Fail have always retained a large enough audience to make the band ruination worth it- and the financial perks. The better answer is that they really love music, and they are really darn good at making it. With Renacer, Senses Fail fifth LP< they come out to not exactly prove a point, but to launch into a sprawling epic of their heaviest material to date.

Renacer is relentless. It is a sensationally atmospheric romp through some of the most hauntingly inductive hardcore to come out in years. As many bands matured, they tended to lose their edge. Senses Fail has reinvigorated it. Before they teased the line of pop and post-hardcore with seamless ease, here they clearly slant towards the heavy and bombastically aggressive this time around. The album is, quite fairly, a tour-de-force of Buddy Nielson's intensity- a new stratospheric level of prearranged anger.

This is all quite surprisingly as after the group have released a series of slightly angrier albums; you would think they would run out of things to yell about. But Nielson still seems to hate everyone who isn't him, and new targets like God and self-pity take a stand at the shooting range. Nielson is unrelenting in his pursuit to languish everything. But he does it so well, and so cool, it is worth every bristling earth-shattering moment through his now constant yells.

Musically, the album handles a lot of the typical Senses Fail tropes. One in particular arises some familiarity. The point where Senses Fail elongate a guitar note, and then heighten the drums, creating this dark tension. Closure/Rebirth does it brilliantly, and Mi Amor uses the musical ode to slightly lesser effect. HolyMountain is a poppier riff-heavy track. Canine is nearly hardcore punk, seeming to pull the rug right from the best of Black Flag. The only more somber note comes with the closing track Between the Mountains and the Sea. Senses fail fans are familiar with this way of closing a record (they have done so with almost all their records) and here, they sound better than ever.

As far as the whole album goes, it is a tight unit of somewhat unrelated aggressive attacks against various forms of emotions and people. It is surprisingly angry, and focuses on this resonating intensity. The pop elements are more constrained to scattered gang chants and brief riffs, but it all quickly derails to some heart-wrenching irate cries against the devil, fearlessness, and mortality. It is all an effort from a group who is aging brilliantly, where aging at ALL is a death cry.