Sensaii – Renegade
Released: 19th August 2016
Rowan Herbert – Unclean Vocals
Chris Burt – Guitar/Vocals
Paul Perry – Drums
Shaun Switzer – Guitar/Vocals
The long awaited debut album by Brisbane boys Sensaii arrived in our hands and it was well worth the wait. The post-hardcore act is somewhat over a semi-small super group made up of former and current members of bands like The Amity Affliction, Tyrants! and Always Yesterday which means they’ve done some hard yards in the industry and know what they’re setting out to achieve, this was certainly the case with their new/debut album release, which sounded so far advanced for a new act trying to get out there. Here’s what we took from our experience.
Opening the album is the “Intro” featuring slow and distant chords and an eerie collection of background ambience which slides perfectly into the first full song on the album, title track “Renegade” where those slow and distant chords pick up and we’re greeted by an easy going scream from unclean vocalist Rowan Herbert who smoothly makes his way into our ears as the rest of the band join in with their performance and clean vocals at the end of each chorus. In comparison to other screaming vocalists I’ve heard for the first time, I have to say Rowan does a great job of getting his emotion across in the way that can be understood with each word he yells, as opposed to background yelling where some bands hope listeners will understand what they’re saying. Clean vocals are shared by Chris Burt and Shaun Switzer who simultaneously bounce off each other like a pair of boobs in a bikini attached to an older woman jumping on a trampoline… yeah that’ll do! The song ends with a faded out harmonious repetition of the chorus and acoustic guitar.
Following on from this we’re straight into “Break out” starting with a somewhat chugga riff then a heavy mass of instrumentals. Clean vocals open up the track but it’s the unclean screaming which add more life to the song. Paul Perry‘s drumming technique stands out the most with this track as the band slows things down towards the 2 minute mark for a mix of faded guitaring and produced vocals. The pick slides towards the end make me feel all tingly inside before the final chorus is sung and a guitar solo kicks off the finale as Rowan’s unclean vocals wrap things up for us. “All Alone” ups the tempo of the album at the right time and combines a mix of unclean/semi-clean vocals greet us once again for a story about someone who has been abandoned/left behind. However throughout the song we get to see both sides of the story being told though music. Midway though the all in band jam shows us the collective experience these guys have had through their years in the music scene and how it has helped develop their talent to the level it is now. These aren’t amateurs, they’re the real deal. Up next is “Egress” which starts off slowing things down again for the opening minute before the band comes back into our lives at full force. At first it felt like I had been grabbed by the collar while Rowan screams directly into my face, spit and all, but I rather enjoy the experience. Throughout this one, you could hear certain aspects from Chris Burt‘s former band The Amity Affliction (from the Severed Ties era), which he took part in the recording of. An audio grab in the middle backs up my last statement (think of the Hot Rod scene used in TAA’s “Do You Party?” song). Despite the topic of content in the lyrics, this is a fun song to listen to.
“W.T.F.” begins with a simple, yet effectively loud drum beat and elongated guitar strums just as the boys take a pause and get into the song together. They work in unison bouncing off each other musically and vocally, with the unclean vocals coming in at the right time to finish one of Rowan’s verses. Shawn‘s almost pop-punk clean vocals shine bright throughout his parts in the track, leaving me wanting to hear more from him. The song ends with an easy going breakdown that serves more as a cool down, than a throw down. But the guys slow it down again for the start of “In Regret” opening up with a simply slow drum beat and and repetitive strumming as my wish is almost met because for the next 5 minutes we’re in for a melodic clean song complete with guitar solos and a tempo change close to the middle which changes the mood entirely and in a way, the band transforms info one of those old school Gothic bands from the early 2000’s. “Better Days” changes the cogs on the wheel entirely and straight away we’re back to the heavy, hard hitting performance we experienced at the start of the record. “In Pieces” follows suit but brings the heavy bar up a few notches; if you’re seeing these guys on the upcoming Amity Affliction Tour, this will be your mosh/circle pit song to get loose to with plenty of break down moments to through your best mate though the air like an oversized/overweight paper aeroplane. Arguably the best song on the entire album, but thats just what I thought.
(Non-Album release of More To Living Than Being Alive)
Onward however to “20 Years” which follows the theme of slow intros before slamming on the brakes and jumping straight into a vicious assault of screaming and group vox. Paul drums his heart out on this one as the rest of the band aggressively play their way though yet another instant favourite that even manages to throw in a short burst of techno/dubstep sounds towards the end. “More To Living Than Being Alive” could have been be the band’s commercial hit (if those radio stations played this music) because of the catchy as fuck chorus which draws you in and gets you singing at the top of your lungs by the end of the track. But it’s the heavy as fuck riffs, solos and screaming which hold the song back from any form of acceptance like that. The original release of the song featured former member Ryan Goodall, on clean vocals, however this re-recording album version delivers a much punchier sound that compliments the rest of the album. As we come towards the end of the album “Different Paths” wastes no time getting straight into an epic climax and spot on way for Sensaii‘s album to finish. Combining almost all aspects of the previous 11 tracks we heard the song has a bit of everything and once again highlights the talent this awesome foursome has managed to capture in a debut that stands out from the rest. It may have taken two years for them to get to this point but they are destined for greatness if they can continue producing music this precise. “Outro” is a slow guitar playing over the sound of crashing waves and we’re back to quietness again.
There are a lot of debut albums and EPs which can go under the radar for acts trying to get exposure and acceptance in the scene but this is one you cannot afford to pass the opportunity on. It will only be a matter of time before these guys are snapped up and if all goes well with their upcoming tour with The Amity Affliction, Trophy Eyes and Driven Fear, I can assure you, you’ll be seeing more of them across the country too. Keep your eyes and ears on Sensaii, you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Sensaii – Renegade tracklist
3. Break out
4. All Alone
7. In Regret
8. Better Days
9. In Pieces
10. 20 Years
11. More To Living Than Being Alive
12. Different Paths
Renegade is Available for Download Friday 19th August
Until next time, rock the fuck out