Funeral for a Friend

Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation

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Welsh combo Funeral for a Friend pushes metal to the bottom for Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation, its ambitious debut full-length. The chugging riffs are there, yes. But Funeral's heavy metal guitar lines are only guides for the surging melodies and sing/scream dynamics common to the new nation of post-hardcore rocket operators. From Autumn to Ashes, Alexisonfire -- these are just a couple of the band's peers in this, both offering their own versions of what's become a signature sound. For their part, it's Funeral's melodic sense that defines them. After all the stereotypical screaming and the heart-immolating lyrics ("I'm dying here in front of you"; "And in my hands our blood recovered"), cuts like "Escape Artists Never Die" and "Waking Up" are still pretty damn hooky. Vocalist Matt Davies even has a bit of Brandon Boyd's willowy soulfulness. Despite its overdramatic title, "Bend Your Arms to Look Like Wings" plays its metallic rhythms perfectly off a relentlessly triumphant chorus. "Storytelling" layers a rack of full-blown backup harmonies over its chunky power chords, while "Red Is the New Black" returns to the old raw throat/heartsick singer standby. The common elements in Funeral for a Friend's sound need some seasoning to keep up with their powerful melodies. But Casually Dressed is still a solid debut, and proves that there's hope for Welsh rock beyond Lostprophets.

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