Artist: Funeral For A Friend
Title: Chapter And Verse
Released: 19th January 2015
Funeral For A Friend started their career in style with 2003’s genre defining Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation. It’s been voted a modern day classic and is generally regarded to be one of the most important Post Hardcore/Emo albums of its generation. It was followed by 2005’s Hours, which stepped the song writing up a notch and proved that Casually Dressed was far from a fluke.
Since then FFAF have lunged in and out of melodically accessible territory, presumably informed by a rolling line up of musicians, until 2013’s Conduit jerked the Welsh five piece into a less apologetic, more abrasive direction. It would seem that this was something of a new mission statement, because whatever your opinion of its content, Chapter And Verse is the heaviest FFAF record yet.
Opener Stand By Me For The Millionth Time makes no bones about what lies in store for the album’s 39mins. Matthew Davies-Kreye’s half screamed half sung vocals sound raw and intense, intentionally under produced and dripping with angst. The track hits its stride with some heavily distorted, open guitars and surprisingly metal, double bass pedal heavy drumming.
Weather it is a result of Matt’s raw, aggressive vocals or Pat Lundy’s frantic, fill heavy percussion, there seems to be an old school, hard punk undercurrent to this record. This is particularly evident in the likes of After All These Years… Like A Lightbulb Going Off In My Head, Modern Excuse Of A Man and Donny, coincidently three of the best songs on here.
In all honesty, I feel like there are some less than excellent moments too. You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself is both musically and lyrically immature, Brother (the record’s lone acoustic track) seems forced and out of place and Inequality is, at best, unremarkable (and at worst rather disjointed exercise in letting everyone play whatever the hell they like). The truth is that Chapter And Verse flows pretty well, but occasionally that’s because it blends into itself.
That said, it is rough-around-the-edges in a positive way. The production is low key, which really lets its stronger moments breath: the epic, open outro of After All These Years…, the wall of sound that is the last third of 1% and the heavy-as-fuck “secret track” really betray the fun these guys seem to be having with their new sound.
Since splitting from major label life some time ago I entirely respect the direction that Funereal For A Friend have decided to take. They appear to be continuing their musical journey in whichever direction they want, maturing and evolving as a band in the process. Their fan-base remains faithful with good reason - each FFAF album manages to have its own creative stamp whilst maintaining the key elements that give a band its identity. In this respect Chapter And Verse is no different. Some will love it, some perhaps wont, personally I’m somewhere in-between. Either way, to still be dividing opinion after nearly 15 years is definitely impressive.