Release Date: Feb 5, 2013
Record label: The End
Welsh post-hardcore outfit Funeral For A Friend find themselves on a round trip rummaging through their origins with the release of their sixth studio album Conduit. Whilst 2011’s Welcome Home Armageddon found the band firmly reunited with their hardcore and metal influences, it’s only now that they seem committed to driving their point home. The adept synthesis of hardcore riffs and angst ridden hooks certainly recalls the band’s early material, but by no means should this be misinterpreted as strategic backtracking.
Funeral for a Friend have been one of those bands that never stuck to the same sound. They've traversed the hardcore-metal feel at times and gone the way of more melodic rock on some records, but what's good to note is they've always been a technically sound band and one that executes brilliantly. As a fan of Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, the changes as they moved from Hours and into, most recently, the See You All in Hell EP, showed that the band pride themselves on versatility and homages to their influences.
It’s been almost 10 years since the Welsh post-hardore outfit released their beloved debut, Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation, and they’ve been trying to live up to it ever since. Conduit, their sixth album and first since the departure of drummer and sometime vocalist Ryan Richards, is their best in years, hitting upon just the right combination of melody, thrash, and hooks. It’s as emo-y and death-obsessed (“How many friends can I lose/Before it all makes sense?” they wonder on the killer first single “Best Friends and Hospital Beds”) as you’d expect.
Post-hardcore, while meant to be a liberating term entailing the transcending of hardcore's genre boundaries, has become the opposite. Bands of the (very loose) "genre," indebted to their former sound, force "heavy" parts where they don't belong. Fortunately, Welsh "post-hardcore" act Funeral For A Friend ignore that obligation on their sixth full-length, Conduit, and are all the more successful for it.
Channeling the hardcore sound that acts as the foundation of metalcore and post-hardcore, Funeral for a Friend look to the driving sounds of the past on their circle pit-inducing sixth album, Conduit. While there are still plenty of melodic elements in the band's sound, especially when it comes time for a big chorus to spring up, the album feels more direct. With the album rolling in at just under 30 minutes, the Welsh band conjures up a straightforward punk-influenced aggression that isn't afraid to get right in your face and tell you exactly how it feels about something.
Review Summary: A step down, but still solid.Long time fans hyped about Funeral For a Friend's seeming return to form (read: their early 2000s post-hardcore roots) on Welcome Home Armageddon will likely be disappointed by Conduit's change of pace. Not because they've made changes to their sound – Funeral For a Friend have never been content to rest on their laurels. It certainly isn't because the Welsh quintet have done another 180 and returned to the melodic rock of Memory and Humanity.
Funeral for a Friend came to my attention in 2008, when I was checking out some screamo boy-bands in an auto-generated playlist on the Internet. I can’t imagine a better defense of the virtues of the digital music age than the fact that five years later I am still listening to Memory and Humanity. I committed my hard-earned money to that record based entirely on the strength of that brief encounter.
Now deep into their second decade, Funeral for a Friend have clearly decided that the time has to come to get straight to the point. The departure of drummer Ryan Richards may have robbed the Welsh quintet of their trademark screams, but Conduit is by no means a return to the thin, radio-friendly gruel that defined the band's sound during their early commercial peak. Frontman Matt Davies has never sounded more committed than he does on these invigoratingly short, sharp post-hardcore rabble-rousers, and new drummer Pat Lundy seems to have relit the fire that made the band so appealing in the first place.
Funeral For A Friend are fully aware of their own legacy. They've laboured under it ever since the release of their début, an album that would simultaneously make, define and haunt them. If you're looking for someone to blame for the past ten years of British, floppy fringed post-hardcore then here's your scapegoat. But decrying the legions of imitators Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation helped spawn is easy; decrying CDADIC itself isn't.
Frontrunners in South Wales’ turn-of-the-century emo boom, Funeral For A Friend were pioneers of that dual-vocal style where one guy sings tearfully about heartbreak while another growls like he’s trying to dislodge a particularly stubborn bit of phlegm. Following a mid-noughties turn into melodic alt-rock, ‘Conduit’ finds the Bridgend quintet revisiting their thrashy roots. There’s an agreeable heft to ‘The Distance’, a very Funeral melding of nagging heaviness and yearning melody.
Welsh post-hardcore five-piece delivers its best album in years. Mischa Pearlman 2013 It was in 2001 that Funeral for a Friend began life, bursting out of Bridgend, Wales with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. The post-hardcore outfit were, said the press, to be the saviours of British rock music. They were going to reignite its flame, rejuvenate a dying breed of music; they would re-energise the passion that was (and some may say still is) missing in mainstream rock outfits.
With 2011’s Welcome Home Armageddon, Funeral For A Friend distanced themselves from the pop stylings of 2007's Tales Don’t Tell Themselves and 2008's Memory And Humanity, having gone on to altogether drop those records from their live set despite their popularity with their fans. Conduit sees them further embracing a post-hardcore sound more aligned with their origins, and with only two of the 11 tracks breaking the three-minute mark—and the whole thing clocking in under 30 minutes—it is a lean, direct, punchy record. This change of focus does not mean that the Welsh quintet have eschewed hooks.