Funeral For A Friend
Chapter and Verse
Funeral For A Friend has written seven albums, and, frustratingly, none of them are the same. Sure, that kind of artistic evolution is something to praise, considering how many groups are happy to limp on and on while pandering to their audience. This iconic Welsh band has never taken the road most traveled, though, despite how many times I’ve asked the band to write Hours Part II. Thankfully, Chapter and Verse shows that the band is not only aging gracefully, it’s proving that the band may be saving its best for later in its career.
While Conduit showed off a more streamlined approach and a definite hands-off production, Chapter and Verse doubles down on this. Guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts has stated that he was proud of the album’s production, warts and all, and one listen to the album makes it easy to understand where he’s coming from. Sure, Matthew Davies-Kreye’s vocals are still on the raw side of things, but he sounds much more comfortable and sure-footed here than on Conduit. If this album sounds like a Funeral For A Friend live show, where energy isn’t lacking, and passion is amplified, then I suggest you seek out a tour near you post-haste. Try your best not to scream along with Matthew during “Modern Excuse of A Man”. That song would’ve been the heaviest track on Casually Dressed & Deeply in Conversation. Interestingly, Chapter and Verse might be the closest in spirit to Hours, with tons of hardcore-charged riffs meeting up with insanely catchy tracks. Tell me that “After All These Years… Like a Lightbulb Going Off in My Head” and “Pencil Pusher” aren’t destined to be new fan favorites. Oh, and stick around for the end of “The Jade Tree Years Were My Best” for one Hell of an hidden track for an album closer.
There’s a comfort to these tracks that has been missing from the band for a while, like the band members remembered why they had so much fun doing this in the first place. This feeling carries even the weaker tracks; “You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself” would falter on past records, but the energy absolutely buoys the track. Funeral For A Friend are back and as good as they’ve been in years. With an album that doubles down on the raw, hardcore-influenced sound of Conduit, with the melodic sensibilities of the band’s best work, Chapter and Verse sounds like a band who is rewriting its own narrative. Funeral For A Friend isn’t at the epilogue just yet. (Nicholas Senior)