Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Funeral For A Friend: Refocused and Armageddon Bound!

The Welsh quintet Funeral for a Friend is back with a new found sense of direction and a return to their roots. There has been a great deal of things going on in their camp since the release of their debut CD Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation in 2003. Several roster changes and some experimentation found fans of their debut scratching their heads. What happened to their hardcore heroes that blew them on that epic release? Although their last release Memory and Humanity showed signs of returning to form, it was not a consistent effort.

Their new CD, Welcome Home Armageddon, finds them more focused than they have been in a few years. In part, this should be attributed to Gavin Burrough switching from bass to guitar and Richard Boucher replacing Gareth Davies on bass. Combine that with a new found hunger by guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts who seems to have found his comfort zone on this release. I think some of his best work to date can be found on here.

The CD starts out with an instrumental track entitled “This Side of Brightness” that rips directly into “Old Hymns”. It really picks up with the third track “Front Row Seats to the End of the World”, which features drummer Ryan Richard’s trademark screams. This is an added element that the band doesn’t overuse hence losing its effect.

Kris really shines on “Broken Foundation” and on the standout track “Medicated”. I am not sure who unleashed him during the recording process, but his new found comfort zone excels on this CD. It just seems like all the separate elements have come together on this release to make a very cohesive unit. Let’s not fail to mention that Richard’s drumming is some of the best that we have heard from him. His double bass attack helps to bring back that aggressive edge that has been lacking in the band.

The band still does mix it up a bit on here, but at least this time it seems genuine and it flows much better than in the past few releases. Aggression, lyrically and in musicianship, plus emotion equals a return to sound for the guys. Longtime fans will welcome this and maybe some lost fans will actually jump back on board. Let’s hope this new found unity transcends into their live show. That will be the true test for these guys. Here’s to the next chapter in their hardcore saga.

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