The sixth studio album from Senses Fail, Pull The Thorn From Your Heart, delves into emotions normally reserved for a therapist’s office or angsty teen novels. But with a winning combination of screaming vocals, powerful guitar riffs, and soothing melodies, this album doesn’t feel so heavy. Instead, it leaves wisdom and a strange sense of calm in its wake.
The opening song, “The Three Marks of Existence”, sets up an expected Senses Fail album–all aggressive guitar riffs and angry shouting. But something sticks out like a lost red mitten in a patch of snow. The lyrics cut deeper than they ever have. Buddy scream-sings, “It takes compassion to confront your pain/ It takes strength to be vulnerable enough to float on the rivers of shame.” Out of context, the lyrics could be mistaken for a quote from a self help book.
These meaningful, frank lyrics, coupled with soft melodies and subtle guitar changes give an entirely comforting feeling. The juxtaposition works in the band’s favor and continues through the album. They pair hard and fast traditional hardcore songs with slower, more Taking Back Sunday-inspired tunes, which gives the record a distinctive flow. Just as it amps you up with heavy, smashing cymbals, rocky rapids give way to slow calm. It takes a breath and brings you back down, asking you to give your feelings room. On the track “Surrender”, for example, Senses Fail combine building guitars and steady bass with lyrics about finally surrendering to your heart.
The songs all touch on the difficulties of being alive. The love, loss, pain, and work that go into existing all come tumbling out like towels from an over stuffed dryer. The track “Wounds” has a few lines that almost hurt to listen to: “There are moments of extreme joy, there are moments of love, there are moments of madness/ And this is life; we cannot change what arises, only how we greet it.” Listening, you realize these are words that needed to be sung.
It is so easy to get lost, let go, and breathe the music into you with these 11 tracks. The masterful combination of raw guitars, subtle drum beats, and heart-wrenching lyrics makes this one of the best albums of the summer.
by Maria Spiridigliozzi