Describing it as a powerful taster of the upcoming record, Music Critic Bas Bevan reviews Biffy Clyro’s newest single
With their ninth studio album The Myth of Happily Ever After on the way in October, Biffy Clyro have released its first official single, ‘A Hunger in Your Haunt’, a track which lives up to the band’s usual high emotional and musical intensity. It is a near four minute barrage of charging riffs and pounding drumming with frontman Simon Neil unleashing his frustrations with fiery and impassioned vocals. The massive sound and energy created along with the raw emotion on display is both pulse-raising and hair-raising and makes the track a powerful taster of the upcoming record.
Neil has described the song as ‘a wake-up call to myself’ at a time when he ‘lacked purpose’ and this resonates with its generally uplifting overall sound. Many of the lyrics though are full of hopelessness and despair which is why he has also called the track ‘an expression of pure frustration’. In the opening verse he sings ‘The glass is not half full, it’s not half empty’, ‘Instead it lays half f****d up on the floor.’
The verses are more spoken instead of sung with the second being considerably aggressive and anguished. In some ways this seems jarring and takes away from the track musically, especially given the quality and elegance of Neil’s vocals usually, but it does reflect the discomfort of the song’s lyrics. This emotion is channelled into the anthemic chorus where he passionately challenges ‘A hunger in your haunt’, ‘Are you taking pleasure in the storm?’. A storm is a definitely an accurate description of the intense feel of the track.
Instrumentally ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ is similar to many of Biffy Clyro’s other heavier songs. The fierce guitar chords, thunderous drumming and high pitched, descending main riff alongside more intricate guitar parts during the pre-chorus and the bridge/ break create a huge sound that rivals the emotional power of the vocals. The second part of the bridge/ break features a continuous bass line with erratic stabs from the guitar and snare drum, similar to the opening of the band’s 2007 song ‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’. This creates a contrast with the full and continuous sound of the rest of the track before the chorus comes back in.
‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ puts on display the creativity, energy and intensity that has contributed to much of Biffy Clyro’s previous success, especially instrumentally. The guitars, bass and drums fit together to create a formidably heavy sound that is also inventive and interesting thanks in part to its variation in pitch and timing. The overall feel including Neil’s vocal style which varies in the verses and the chorus is also representative of the emotion and the topic of the lyrics which makes listening to the song an immersive experience. Because of this however, vocally ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ is not as melodic or melodically varied as the majority of the Scottish outfit’s other work. As this is one of their stronger traits it could be questioned whether the effective emotional representation of the track was worth this sacrifice. Irrespective of this the song is very strong instrumentally and is a hard-hitting first impression for The Myth of Happily Ever After that will create intrigue, especially amongst fans for its release.
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