In 2001, five young boys bored out of their wits decided to get together to write some songs and play a couple of shows. Little did they know that the band formed on that day — in their hometown of Bridgend, Wales — would go on to release seven albums, two certified gold and one certified silver, and be one of the biggest modern UK rock acts in the 2000s.
These five boys, to the rest of us, are collectively known by their more familiar name, Funeral for a Friend.
Funeral for a Friend’s true genius lies in their artistic consistency. A “post-hardcore band with metal riffs” would perhaps best describe their early sound; loud and noisy hardcore punk with non-stop, highly intricate riff-work, tastefully laced with melody.
This soon became Funeral’s signature sound; the interlocking guitar-work of Kris Coombs-Roberts’ heavily palm-muted riffs and Darran Smith’s soaring octave chords, along with vocalist Matt Davies’ heartfelt, impassioned voice.
It’s difficult to pin down the extent of the influence Funeral for a Friend has had in the world of alternative music over the course of 15 years. They’ve been known to be pioneers of sorts, with echoes of their brilliant debut, Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation, heard everywhere in the realm of post-hardcore. Successful modern bands, like Fightstar and Asking Alexandria, have credited Funeral for a Friend for directly inspiring their sound.
The band in 2007 (left) and the band in 2015 (right).
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Funeral for a Friend’s influence runs deep here in Singapore too.
Some of the earliest bands that brought post-hardcore to our shores, Caracal and A Vacant Affair, cite Funeral for a Friend as direct influences and it’s possible to pick out some of that Funeral flavour in the songs they’ve written.
A Vacant Affair used to draw the hugest moshpits and, while the crowds have definitely shrunk in size these days, some of the "retired" moshers that used to go to these shows have themselves gone on to form bands of their own. In Singapore’s alternative rock history, Caracal and A Vacant Affair are almost considered titans already.
So when the band announced on a Facebook post in September last year that they were calling it quits, I felt absolutely gutted.
For a great many of us, Funeral for a Friend was the soundtrack to our secondary school days, and because they’ve sort of fallen off the radar for me, having my newsfeed populated with friends sharing the sad news felt almost like a guilt-trip.
But seeing the number of people as overwhelmed as I was instantly reminded me of the immense support that the band has here, and the turnout at their 2007 show is definitely testament to that. Thankfully, they’ll be stopping by here one last time before they breakup and playing all their hits from days past.
It’s sad to see Funeral for a Friend disappear from the world of music but the least we can do is go for the show and strap on our ballroom best, for it’s our last chance to dance.
Check out 10 essential Funeral For A Friend songs in a Spotify playlist below.