I, like most casual fans of Funeral For A Friend, haven't been following much of what's been going on for the past several years. I figured Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation and Hours were all I essentially needed to enjoy this band. The 3 full-lengths post-2005 didn't really hold my ear for too long. Overall, I was especially disappointed in their last release Welcome Home Armageddon. Enter Conduit, in my opinion the band's best effort since Hours.

They waste no time getting back to where they've come from musically, 'returning to their roots' if you will. Beautiful clean arpeggiated chords are accompanied by lush warmly distorted chords and melodic octave lines in the guitars. "Spine" has a great groove and showcases new drummer Pat Lundy. His power and technicality throughout give a new energy to the band without totally distracting from the overall sound. The title track "Conduit" might be the most intense on the record (along with "High Castles"), clearly pointed at all the naysayers and doubters of the band. The lyrics almost make you feel guilty for not giving these guys support as Matthew Davies and crew scream out out "They give up on us the moment we turned our backs."

"Best Friends and Hospital Beds" pretty much sums up what I enjoy about this band. It starts out with a thrashy passage with galloping triplets in the guitars, quickly switches to a half-time feel, and plummets right into the incredibly memorable chorus. Lyrically, this band is still dark and conveys emotion well while still retaining a sense of sincerity and realness in the vocals. Other moments on the album show us the metal and hardcore side they have, such as in "Death Comes To Us All." It depends on if you like the relatively predictable power chord-chugging patterns or not, but Kris Coombs' leads with masterful exploration of the fretboard over top keeps these parts interesting. One of the more raw moments happens on this track towards the end when everything drops out but the bass and drums. Davies brings an unsure, anxious voice up to full belting and the band follows suit, providing a nice change of dynamics.

"Grey," for a bit, almost sounds like something that could have been on the last Testament record. Also, the breakdown in this song is one of my favorite moments on the album and I wish it was a little longer. Every Time I Die or Stray From The Path would have loved to write that one.

Although "High Castles" starts off as a pretty stock hard-rock/metal-influenced song, but FFAF are able to drop their memorable choruses and other variables in there such as a incredibly busy bass line to keep your attention. The end is a sendoff to the doubters, with the screamed lyrics "Words are weapons, fist by fist."

At just under 30 minutes, Funeral For A Friend leave it all out there on record for you to enjoy. Although it might not be as monumental as their first two full lengths, it's important to realize it's been the better part of a decade since those records have been released. I believe this is the best possible album the band could have created at this point in their career, and any fans of heavy but still melodic music should check this album out.