March 15, 2011 - Good Fight
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. While the album opens with the brief and extremely elegant instrumental “This Side Of Brightness,” “Old Hymns” explodes to life in a rush of breakneck energy that is saturated with the kind of melodies that make your heart beat that little bit faster, and the gorgeous summery sounds of “Sixteen” and urgent “Man Alive” elicit similar reactions. One again proving they also have it in them to kick up a pretty mean racket, “Front Row Seats To The End Of The World” boasts a rolling riff Helmet would be proud of while drummer Ryan Richards screams himself stupid. “Spinning Over The Island” is similarly muscular yet still effortlessly boasts massive hooks. The more plaintive “Owls (Are Watching)” adds a further dimension to the record, while the coda to the title track, which closes things out, is wracked with pained regret, Matt Davies’ agonized vocals unnerving in their honesty and all the more powerful for it.
The one thing the album really lacks, though, is an obvious single. While many songs are memorable, there is nothing that suggests any of the tracks have the classic quality of “Juneau,” “History,” “Streetcar” or “Into Oblivion (Reunion).” Of course, time could easily prove this wrong, and Welcome Home Armageddon certainly is an album that reveals more and more of its hidden depths with increased exposure.