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Album Review: FAILURE – The Heart Is A Monster

FAILURE – The Heart Is A Monster

Nearly 20 years since the release of Fantastic Planet, Failure’s newest album, The Heart Is a Monster, not only caught me off guard, but sustained my faith in the band’s ability to deliver. I’ve been listening to the album since it came out a while ago, and I can honestly say that it’s some of their finest work to date. Clearly the band hasn’t abandoned their signature atmospheric grunge sound—in fact, it is revitalized by a tighter textural depth, and a crunchy overdrive that shines among polished production values. For proof that this album isn’t simply a comeback effort, there is continuity in the numbering of the segue tracks. What’s ultimately presented is a lengthy and flowing collection of tracks that any hardcore fan would itch to hear. However, even those who are introduced to Failure by this album would feel compelled to listen back to their earlier releases, just to experience how far they’ve come. [columns] [column size=”1/3″]

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Artist: Failure
Album Title: The Heart Is A Monster
Release Date: June 30 21, 2015
Playing Time: 01:04:45
Label: INgrooves
[list style=”music”] [li]Segue 4[/li] [li]Hot Traveler[/li] [li]A.M. Amnesia[/li] [li]Snow Angel[/li] [li]Atom City Queen[/li] [li]Segue 5[/li] [li]Counterfeit Sky[/li] [li]Petting the Carpet[/li] [li]Mulholland Drive[/li] [li]Fair Light Era[/li] [li]Segue 6[/li] [li]Come Crashing[/li] [li]Segue 7[/li] [li]The Focus[/li] [li]Otherwhere[/li] [li]Segue 8[/li] [li]I Can See Houses[/li] [li]Segue 9[/li] [/list]
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The first single on the album, “Hot Traveler,” is full of pop potential. Its string bending lead guitar is supported by a drumbeat with a surprising groove. Ken Andrews’ vocal style and the instrumentation accurately depict the flirtation phase of a romantic pursuit. The chorus expresses the motions from a rather detached perspective, as Andrews notes a girl’s superficiality and simply waits out their long nights. Besides sufficiently serving as a reintroduction to Failure’s sound, the song strikes an honest chord with those whose hearts have been had. The third track, “AM Amnesia,” expands upon the theme, with further insight into how the girl’s seemingly impressive qualities are now glanced over as afterthoughts. The intro resembles an overactive mind of strain, but then shifts into the sonic equivalent of evaporating dry ice. During the chorus, the guitars are full of blunt force, and Andrews adds a soaring falsetto that brings it to a new level. I’m surprised that this song wasn’t selected as the follow-up single. It definitely has a similar hook factor and I can envision it getting decent airplay on alternative radio, but I guess that would have been too easy a move. “Snow Angel” is where the vibe morphs into a crisper and opportunely chilling atmosphere. When I first heard the vocals, I thought the melody was reminiscent of “Frogs” from Magnified but sung in a major key. This song also has a very wintery feel, with gusty, detuned synths leading to the chorus. It is quite haunting, yet bittersweet—another highlight of the album at best. On the latter half of the album is two songs the band played live during their early days, “Petting the Carpet” and “I Can See Houses”. Both songs are slightly altered; the first is now in a mid-tempo and the second is played half a step down, but the flow of the album stays consistent and it was a nice inclusion nonetheless


Overall, Failure has reached a peak of creativity that is showcased brilliantly and intelligently. With a concept 18 tracks strong, it was truly worth the wait. I’d feel perfectly content if the band were to take more time off from recording, but should they continue, I will certainly be pumped.

Check out the video for “Hot Traveler”

Failure - The Heart Is A Monster
Photo credit: R. Daly



Jake Küssmaul

Jake is a musician and writer from the hamlet of Hawthorne, NY. Despite having mild cerebral palsy, he continues to break barriers, developing solid connections and lasting friendships with bands around the world.

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