In the history of music when have you ever heard an album start with the band’s lead singer shouts “ha, ha, record this?!” What’s that? You can’t think of anyone? Well that was how Scottish giants Biffy Clyro kicked off their seventh release; “Ellipsis.” Suppose when you have been on the go for over two decades you can start your album’s whatever way you want to.
Before releasing this album the Biff boys took some time off, moving away from the public eye for a year, which to be honest isn’t a bad thing as everyone deserves a break sometimes. The album’s introduction “Wolves Of Winter” not only included the hilarious intro from frontman Simon Neill but the track itself kept to the band’s signature, earth pounding rock style. “Animal Style” and “Herex” are other examples where the lads kept to this similar style, though more polished and not as edgey as their previous records, were still well sounding tracks.
This was where it all went down hill for me. There is one thing that can be said about the band’s overall sound and that is they sure have been experimenting with a variety of musical styles over the years. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, however for those of you who have been fans of their early material then this album might not for you. For starters, tracks like “Friends And Enemies” and “On A Bang” were examples that the boys have gotten tamer; even moving from the grunge influence to more mainstream pop. Also don’t get me wrong, nothing beats hearing a ballad but about a quarter of the album was a collection of acoustic songs; I mean come on, this is Biffy Clyro I was listening to, not Bob Dylan. That being said, the track called “Small Wishes” was one of those songs that was cringy to listen to at first, it grew to become a favourite track of mine; reminded me of something from the British kids show Dappledown Farm (don’t ask).
Overall sound wasn’t the only thing that was experimental throughout this record as a small of the songs were also written with other artists. “Howl” was the prime example as it was written alongside Gary Lightbody and Johnny McDaid who are members of Northern Ireland’s own; Snow Patrol. While the energy was brought back for this piece in particular, the use of auto tune in the chorus was an immediate turn off.
Now, old school Biffy Clyro fans, don’t lose hope for if you pick up the deluxe edition, the album’s true finale was a track entitled “In The Name Of The Wee Man.” Now this was the Biffy Clyro we have all grown to love over the years as the classic wall shattering, dirty guitar riffs and vocal screams from Simon Neill had been revived; shame there wasn’t more of this throughout the album.
Now, I am not saying a band should experiment with different sounds and techniques, however you shouldn’t experiment so much that you have lost the overall sound that fans have grown to love over the years. Sadly, in my own opinion, this was one of the most disappointing releases of 2016 and I hope the Biff can rise again for their next release.
Wolves Of Winter / Friends and Enemies / Animal Style / Re-arrange / Herex / Medicine / Flammable / On A Bang / Small Wishes / Howl / People / Don’t, Won’t, Can’t (Deluxe Only) / In The Name Of The Wee Man (Deluxe Only)
Biffy Clyro set to headline Download Festival on the 10th June 2017. System Of A Down and Aerosmith are also set to headline the weekend. For further details click here.
You can also check out Planetmosh’s review of Biffy Clyro’s Belsonic 2016 performance just by clicking here.