Pull the Thorns From Your Heart
(Pure Noise Records)
Over the years, Senses Fail have continued to evolve, and though every station of their progress has been excellent, this may very well be their best form. Pull the Thorns From Your Heart is a bold and profound record lyrically, instrumentally, and vocally. It will go down as a model post-hardcore record, dripping with true emotion and tribulation. With lines like “Be the change you seek” (Track: “Wounds”), “I want to love with the courage of an open heart” (Track: The Courage of An Open Heart”), “Don’t let your heart beat turn to stone” (Track: “Surrender”), “I will not die in shame” (Track: “Pull the Thorns From Your Heart”), and “The times that you take to wait, for all the things that you need, are the times that you’ve wasted” (“Track: “We Are All Returning Home”) are just several examples of the wisdom you’ll experience during this important, defining collection.
Wasting no time, Senses Fail kick off their latest release with a hard-powered explosion, titled “The Three Marks of Existence”. Its 1:51 length is teeming with raw energy, and gives way to one of the most haunting tracks of Thorns: “Carry the Weight”. Here, Buddy reintroduces his clean vocals, this time used gently throughout the record, often appearing for the most provocative lyrics.
As Pull the Thorns From Your Heart continues forth, Senses Fail rope in all their ability to create the strongest tracks they’ve ever recorded. Chris Hornbrook (who recently took over Trapp’s duties) especially shines on this collection, his drumming perfect for the new style of hardcore-influenced music the band has taken in their reigns. And, of course, Buddy Nielsen has continued to impress with his writing and range of voice, pushing ever further in both directions.
It’s hard to pinpoint specific tracks for highlight here, because Thorns is a collective work that tells the story of a broken man coming to grasps with his sexuality and beliefs. To pull it apart takes from the effect, not that these songs don’t work alone (because they certainly do), but you’d be missing out on something painfully and artistically constructed to reflect Nielsen’s greatest struggles.
Senses Fail are at their best here. Yes, it’s been said before, but that’s only because this band keeps topping itself every step of the way. Pull the Thorns From Your Heart will likely go down as one of the top records of 2015, if not the most important for its scene. Hopefully, both. (Nathaniel Lay)