Boy Sets Fire – After the Eulogy

Boy Sets Fire
After the Eulogy

Boy Sets Fire can pack more punch in one song than most bands can on an entire album. And they do it by not being afraid to get personal and political. While many hardcore bands use the whole political idealism standard, you get the sense that Boy Sets Fire really means it. I mean, these guys have professed to following communism, for goodness sake.
After the Eulogy picks up where their last EP left off, marking a different direction from their last and widely popular LP, The Day the Sun Went Out. Some of these songs are straight-forward, aggressive and blistering hardcore. Some are much more mellow and melodic, more straight-forward rock. And some bridge the gap perfectly, as the band’s best songs always do. The hooks are here, the screaming and singing is here, the personal lyrics are here. It makes for a great listen.
The album starts off with what many people feel is the new direction of Boy Sets Fire: a blistering assault of driving guitars and drums and shouted vocals that is more hardcore than their emo leanings. “Where’s your anger? Where’s your fuckin’ rage?” But what sets BSF apart from many hardcore bands is their tendency to slow down, mix up the tempo, and combine the shouted vocals with the sung vocals. They do that in this song and most songs, but this is definitely a more hardcore and heavy side for the band. “Pariah Under Glass” is another good example of the band leading off aggressive and screaming, as heavy and aggressive as any hardcore band, and then breaking down to get more person and intimate, the vocals singing beautifully. Other songs, such as “Our Time Honored Tradition of Cannibalism,” “Twelve Step Hammer Program,” and the almost grind-core “The Force Majeure” are more consistently heavy, with screaming backgrounds and driving, metal-style guitars.
But don’t fear, if you’re a fan of their last full-length. Songs like “Rookie,” “Still Waiting for the Punchline,” and “Unspoken Request” show the band at their most melodic emo-core brilliant. These songs are catchy and heavy but not a fearful assault of power. Mixing Nathan Gray’s amazing voice, which is capable of singing beautifully one moment and screaming out his deepest feelings the next, with the driving yet powerfully melodic guitars, Boy Sets Fire are probably the definitive band for mixing emo and hardcore into emo-core. “If another angel says to grin and bear it, I might be forced to bash his head against the fucking wall!” Gray sings on “Still Waiting…”
On After the Eulogy, Boy Sets Fire even get more melodic than usual. “When Rhetoric Dies,” “The Abominations of Those Virtuous,” and “My Life in the Knife Trade,” for example, may turn some people off because of its more straight-forward rock leanings. With Gray singing his heart out, the music is much more laid-back and harmonious in parts. While the band seems to be headed toward the heavier, more aggressive hardcore, these songs are actually more mellow and laid-back than their older songs. “My Life…” is so amazingly catchy and good, you don’t really care that they’re not screaming. I think this style fits in perfect, marking an excellent contrast to the more consistently aggressive songs on this album. But the band does shine the best when mixing the two styles.
Boy Sets Fire are clearly out to get their message across. Of all their albums, this is likely the most straight-forward and political. While I appreciate that, I still place The Day the Sun Went Out a notch above this album, likely because of the more personal and relationship-oriented songs that were so fun to scream along with. These songs are just as catchy and just as powerful, however, and fans will not be disappointed. It’s likely that BSF will go down as one of the most powerful hardcore bands and one of the most effective at getting their message across.