Review by Shannon Shumaker
Fourteen years after their formation, Funeral For A Friend’s sound is still as strong as ever. It still packs a punch and there’s still plenty of emotion behind the music and the lyrics - something that their fans fell in love with years ago - it’s just a little bit more matured, grown up, evolved and definitely a little angrier.
The first thing that stood out to me about Funeral For A Friend’s seventh studio album, Chapter And Verse was the raw energy and newer sound from the band's last album Conduit. While the album definitely still hosts some incredibly catchy and gorgeous melodic choruses (which is a guarantee with any Funeral For A Friend album) the overall sound of this record is definitely different than anything the band has done in the past. Think Funeral For A Friend meets pop-punkers, Living With Lions or Such Gold. That being said, the sound on this album is not only refreshing (especially for a band that’s been producing music for over a decade) but also loud, aggressive, angry and emotional.
There’s a great raw energy to the first track on Chapter And Verse, “Stand By Me For The Millionth Time,” which definitely sets the energy for the rest of the album. The emotion in vocalist Matthew Davies’ screams in this track really makes you feel his words and this song packs a punch that wakes you up and makes you excited for the rest of this album. Following “Stand By My For The Millionth Time” is “You’ve Got A Bad Case Of The Religions,” which has an upbeat energy and melodic chorus that is a staple for Funeral For A Friend. The drums and guitar in this track are fast paced, contrasting really well with the gorgeous, melodic vocals, especially in the strong chorus. By the time “You’ve Got A Bad Case Of The Religions” transitions into “Pencil Pusher,” I’m singing along.
“Pencil Pusher” sounds very hardcore influenced - there’s a lot of anger and energy behind this song and it really sets it apart from the rest of Funeral For A Friend’s material. Following “Pencil Pusher” is “You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself” which hosts some of the strongest bass work on Chapter And Verse. Again, the chorus on this track is very pretty, slow, and easy to sing along with, which seems to be the case with many other songs on Chapter And Verse, especially “Inequality.” “1%” and “After All These Years… Like A Lightbulb Going Off In My Head” are some of the slowest and cleanest tracks on the album, which remind me a lot of Funeral For A Friend’s older material. A showcase of the band’s versatility is the explosive track “Modern Excuse Of A Man” and the contrasting emotional acoustic song, “Brother.”
On top of the already stellar songwriting, it's apparent that Funeral For A Friend also have a point to get across with this album. While I wouldn't necessarily consider Chapter And Verse a concept album by any means, much of the lyricism is very politically driven. With just one listen to "You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself," it's apparent that this song focuses very heavily on gender politics and women's rights. While the awesome sound on this album is definitely a selling point, the smart, relevant lyrics are what really drives Chapter And Verse home. Songs such as "You've Got A Bad Case Of The Religions" and "Modern Excuse Of A Man" are also incredibly strong lyrically, but just about every track on Chapter And Verse packs that lyrical punch that many bands seem to miss the mark on. It's refreshing to hear Funeral For A Friend address many issues that rarely get brought up in music, while still managing to grow their sound.
The way that Funeral For A Friend manages to mesh both their old and new sound on this album is absolutely phenomenal - it makes the transition almost seamless and the product is one of the band’s strongest albums to date. Chapter And Verse is full of hard-hitting verses with unclean vocals and fast paced guitar and drum work alongside beautiful bass lines, meshed with slower melodic choruses and the outcome is amazing. This album is a perfect example of a band growing and changing over many years (both musically and lyrically) and pulling it off amazingly. Chapter And Verse should not be missed.
Listen to "You've Got A Bad Case Of The Religions" and "You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself"