Funeral For A Friend – Conduit

Band – Funeral For A Friend
Album – Conduit
Label – Distiller Records
Release date – January 28th
Sounds like – mosh-pit, pop-hardcore anthems

I haven’t heard a Funeral For A Friend album since ‘Hours‘. Back in 2003, FFAF were my favourite band – ‘Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation‘ for all it’s massively pretentious title aside, was an absolute blast of passionate, emotional-hardcore. To be fair to them, they really didn’t do wrong with the previously mentioned ‘Hours‘ either; an album that toned down on as-then drummer Ryan Richards’ screaming and focused more on making everything a lot more melodic, but still retaining the zeal and eagerness of their debut.

After that I lost interest. Not the band’s fault; I’d just moved on, new bands, new music – FFAF become that band I looked back fondly on whenever I heard ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ in some dingy, sweat-soaked rock club. Why the interest now? Well, it actually stemmed from Rock Sound again, whose 9/10 review of ‘Conduit‘ piqued my interest. Also, after watching the music video for ‘The Distance‘ I was intrigued by their developed sound.

Now with a modified line-up (only vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye and guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts remain from the Casually Dressed-era) ‘Conduit’ is Funeral For A Friend’s 6th album and also their shortest. Clocking in at just over 29 minutes, with the longest track being 3.37 (the superb ‘High Castles’) it doesn’t hang around. There’s no respite; heck, only ‘Nails’ slows things down for about 10 seconds. This is Funeral For A Friend embracing the sounds of their current and fallen contemporaries, giving them a fresh and invigorated start.

‘Sunless’ for instance, wouldn’t look out of place on a Boy Sets Fire album – in fact, you could be fooled into thinking it was a cover of a BSF track. The guitars jerk and lurch with that wrought post-hardcore edge, whilst Davies-Kreye’s vocals are spat with an impassioned vigor. ‘Grey’ bulldozes past with a spluttered, deranged heaviness last heard on a Snapcase album – with backing vocal cries provided possibly by Coombs-Roberts, show that while Ryan Richards’s screams are missed, they haven’t been completely forgotten. The guitars are suitably twisted and broken-sounding, contorting and bending, misshapen riffs through the hardcore spectrum with efficiency and power.

Opening track ‘Spine’ is a tense and direct slap of wrought post-hardcore, guitars lurching and spilling grimy riff after riff. The title track bulldozes just over 2 minutes of intense, sharp-edged punk rock, supported by a gruff hardcore edge. The breakdowns are spot on, as are Davies-Kreye’s vocals – substituting melody for a fervent shouting and gritty battle cries.

‘The Distance’ is one of the finest tracks they’ve ever recorded. Two and a half minutes of perfectly paced, rambunctious pop-punk. It ticks all the right boxes, from the anthemic chorus, which is a soaring, indignant blast of pent-up joy, to new drummer Pat Lundy’s brilliant drum lines. ‘Best Friends and Hospital Beds’ is yet another pogo-friendly anthem; mixing emotive-power-pop with hardcore, plus some fantastic drum rolls, gang-vocal chants and yet another huge hook-laden chorus. Four Year Strong should take notes; this is the good shit right here.

“I refuse to be apart of this disease and I refuse to play that part” bellows Davies-Kreye on ‘Travelled’; a bitter 2 minute romp of roaring, contorted hardcore, that seamlessly merges into another pop-rock chorus, before morphing into that rasping bark of disgruntled riff-laden animosity.

Like ‘The Distance’, closing track ‘High Castles’ is contender for one of their strongest songs to date. The opening 30 seconds are a glorious blast of Set Your Goals-esque pop-hardcore, executed beautifully, coupled with a yet another captivating and melodic chorus, which is something the band have perfected with style and grace. The gang-vocal chants near the end, along with Davies-Kreye’s guttural roar and scream of “WORDS ARE WEAPONS! FIST BY FUCKING FIST” is the determined bellow of a band who are still breathing the raw fire that emblazoned them from their inception 12 years ago.

The sharp and jagged directness of ‘Conduit’ highlights just how much influence bands like Snapcase have obviously had on Funeral For A Friend’s writing. Their taunt, abrasive edge, coupled with Davies-Kreye’s consistent and zealous vocal shouts showcases just how far the band have come and how they can still punch a serious dent in the hardcore music scene.

Sidenote: old vocalist, Matthew Evans, aka SnowSkull (see Between Order and Model EP) designed the impressive artwork – awesome!

Links

Funeral For A Friend
Distiller Records

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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