Funeral For A Friend – Welcome Home Armageddon – Review

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It’s been a long time since Funeral For A Friend was nestled snuggly within my music playlist. The UK five-piece had charmed their way into my headphones with their own brand of melodic rock and contrasting vocals right around the time they released their 2003 full-length “Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation” and their breakout sophomore album, “Hours.” Since then however, listeners have noticed the bands adoption of several plain hard rock influences in recent efforts such as lazy riffs and bland repeating chords– the kind of stuff that Kerrang! would surely be proud of. This was a trend we hoped Funeral For A Friend would avoid with their fifth full-length record “Welcome Home Armageddon.” And it seems they have for the most part.

Welcome Home Armageddon” may open its doors with a quiet building track, “This Side Of Brilliance,” but its light-stepping echoed guitars are short lived as we are introduced to the melodically charged track “Old Hymns” which features some of the bands fastest guitars to date, as well as a softer chorus underbelly and serenading bridge. Early on, Kris and newly christened guitarist Gavin venture out of their safe-zone fretwork with the down-tuned riffs of “Front Row Seats To The End of The World.” Like earlier songs though, for every rushing section of rough guitars and Ryan Richard‘s throaty shouts, there is a equal but opposite reaction featuring Matthew Davies-Kreye‘s signature (slightly UK-tilted accent) vocals and a collection of more melodic, complex, and energetic riffs.

Songs like “Sixteen” and “Spinning Over The Island” have the band walking the line between being a catchy track similar to the carefree tunes pushed out by bands like Story Of The Year, and songs that subscribe to the “simple progression is better” way of thinking (ie LoveHateHero), which (while addictive) can suffer from bland repetitive percussion and pacing guitar over-saturation. Funeral For A Friend attempts to offset this with songs like “Owls (Are Watching)” which act as airy ballads filled not only with handfuls of technical fretwork, but also calming effects and charming vocals.

And while I was upset about how softened some of the bands enjoyable rough edges had gotten over the last few years, I was instead intrigued by the sharper production and impressed by the more complex guitars. “Welcome Home Armageddon” isn’t the bands most risky endeavor, as they seem to be moving farther and farther from once-peers (cohesively experimental) Fightstar, but the sheer talent and catchiness within this effort deserves a little recognition and praise, if not a few record spins. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: March 15th, 2011
Record Label: Good Fight Music
Genre: Melodic Rock

Track Listing:
1. This Side Of Brightness
2. Old Hymns
3. Front Row Seats To The End Of The World
4. Sixteen
5. Aftertaste
6. Spinning Over The Island
7. Man Alive
8. Owls (Are Watching)
9. Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t
10. Medicated
11. Broken Foundation
12. Welcome Home Armageddon

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