After the double albums, the soundtracks and the live records, you could be forgiven for wondering whether Biffy Clyro were entering a ‘difficult’ middle-aged period as they approached studio album number nine. But any worries that the inner fires that have fuelled them for this long are starting to wane seem largely, if not totally, misplaced on ‘A Celebration Of Endings’.
When Simon Neil warns at one point that “This is not a love song”, it is a strong case for understatement of the year. This is a record that exists in a bitter state of acrimony and betrayal from the start from a band that is closing its ranks against a common enemy. Whatever the nature of the fall-out that runs through the whole record, it has left some real nastiness in its wake. In some ways, that bile proves strangely beneficial as it allows the band to skip any comfortable middle-aged lyrical cliches for something fiercer and furious.
With early single ‘Instant History’ not proving to be quite the rug-puller that it initially seemed to be, much here sticks closely to the tried-and-tested Biffy sound with a few exceptions. ‘Space’ dials back the carnage as it bares its emotions for all to see, and the album highlight ‘End Of’, as sharp and dangerous as an assassin, rumbles along on a filthy bass riff. As the closing ‘Cop Syrup’ casts an eye back to their early days, it injects a much-needed unpredictability right at the death and shows that they can still avoid the pitfalls that most rock acts of this longevity slump into. This is a band that is still nowhere near finished.