Written by: PP on 27/12/2015 08:23:01

Following their 2013 comeback album "While A Nation Sleeps...", Boysetsfire try to pick up the momentum with a quick follow-up release only two years later. The self-titled record, which traditionally defines a band sound wise, unfortunately, feels just as lackluster and forgettable as its predecessor did, a far cry from the genre-defining post-hardcore masterpieces the band released early on during their career.

The problem isn't so much that the band have changed their sound, because they haven't. "Ordinary Lives" echoes "Handful of Redemption"-era material with its expansive clean vocal chorus, which sees vocalist Nathan Gray stretch his voice beautifully across the soundscape, resulting in an ambitious and a dramatic expression overall. It's easily the best track on the record. Opener "Savage Blood" is aggressive and scream-laden, much like the band have been during their heaviest moments. In contrast, "One Match" is surprisingly pop-oriented and catchy for a band that on recent releases have geared primarily towards the heavier extreme of the post-hardcore realm. "The Filth Is Rising" is again a hardcore-fueled track, where Gray screams his lungs out, but the song lacks purpose. The breakdown in the middle of the track feels contrived, and Gray's throaty screaming comes across as little more than wraaghing for the sake of wraaghing.

The subtle melodies of their best "The Misery Index..."-era testosterone-driven pieces are nowhere to be found, so instead the songs tear down the soundscape for no apparent reason. "Coward" is an excellent example where Gray's screaming, while razor-sharp, feels forced and, as mentioned before, lacking in purpose, leaving the song sounding monotonous and forgettable as a result. In the opposite corner, the melodic tracks are misplaced as well. "Heaven Knows" sounds like a C-rated cross between Bad Religion and Rise Against. "Torches To Paradise" features an anthemic chorus and a melancholic, nostalgia-driven atmosphere that takes you back to the early 2000s post-hardcore scene, but just doesn't stick well enough.

And herein lies the problem with "Boysetsfire", which incidentally aligns it with "While A Nation Sleeps" as mentioned earlier. The first few songs are quite good, but the rest are simply forgettable. The album appears too long and feels tired, cliché even in some places. Compared to their excellent back catalogue, these two latest albums merely feel uninspired.


Download: Don't Panic, Ordinary Lives, One Match
For the fans of: Funeral For A Friend, 36 Crazyfists, Evergreen Terrace, The Blackout Argument
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.09.2015
Bridge Nine / End Hits Records

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