Release Date: Mar 15, 2011
Record label: Good Fight
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
FFAF sound more like themselves than they have done in years. Following on from their Pledge Music-released ‘The Young And Defenceless’ EP back in September, ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’ is proof – if there was ever a need for it – that Funeral For A Friend are still very, very relevant. As the first record featuring new bassist Richard Boucher and a re-shuffled line-up, Funeral sound like a new band.
Review Summary: Out of oblivion and once more cause for some deep conversation."I stared into oblivion... And found my own reflection there". Remember that key lyric from Funeral For A Friend's third LP 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves'? You know, the mainstream rock album which told the story of a lost fisherman... The release which did not find the widespread appeal that the band were hoping for, and - while attracting some new fans - dismayed many more loyalists.
You have to feel a bit sorry for Funeral For A Friend. Despite being inappropriately hailed by some as the 'new Nirvana' upon the release of 2003’s critically-acclaimed debut Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, the Bridgend quintet has never quite mustered the commercial appeal which seems to surround countryfolk Bullet For My Valentine and Lostprophets. Whether this is down to the abandonment of (whisper it) post-hardcore leanings on subsequent releases or simply due to the fickleness of the music business in general remains unclear but, nonetheless, here they return once more with fifth studio album, Welcome Home Armageddon.
It isn't hard to understand why some listeners have become burned out on the whole post-hardcore/screamo/melodic hardcore sound; one could write a book about all the forgettable and totally faceless screamo bands that flooded the market in the 2000s and managed to score label deals despite their lack of memorable songs. But Funeral for a Friend have been one of the more impressive screamo bands; they beat much of the competition when it comes to successfully integrating melodic elements and hardcore elements. Welcome Home Armageddon has something missing from all the cookie-cutter screamo albums that have flooded the market in the 21st century: an honest to God sense of pop/rock craftsmanship.
The bellowing authority of Matt Davies-Kreye on [b]‘Old Hymns’[/b] casts a sturdy shadow over the most iron of lungs on this invite to the end of the world. Produced by Romesh Dodangoda ([a]Motorhead[/a], [a]Kids In Glass Houses[/a]), the rawest of FFAF’s live attributes, from metal drums to secretive whispers, are captured and exposed like a new-found diary. Melodic moments, as on the title track, appear more confessional than past ventures, and while [b]‘Sixteen’[/b] doesn’t re-define the boundaries of screamo, it does add easy digestion to the genre.
A great fifth album from the revitalised Welsh rockers. Raziq Rauf 2011 You’d be forgiven for thinking that Funeral for a Friend were thinking about winding down after the line-up changes of recent years and the release of 2009’s best-of set, Your History Is Mine. But Welcome Home Armageddon proves quite the opposite. Both this disc and its predecessor, 2008’s Memory and Humanity, seem to have acted as MOTs for the band.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary with their fifth full-length, Wales’ Funeral For A Friend have shown some impressive staying power in a scene that has seen literally hundreds of bands abruptly appear only to just as swiftly vanish, and the sheer quality of their passionate music has certainly played a huge part in this. Though always retaining their core sound, the band have evolved on each release, never simply repeating themselves, and while Welcome Home Armageddon doesn’t quite scale the heights of 2007’s Tales Don’t Tell Themselves and perhaps requires a little more investment by the listener than 2008’s Memory And Humanity, it is certainly another solid addition to their canon. A large part of FFAF’s appeal has always been in the melodies they weave, and there are some gorgeous ones to behold throughout.