Holy Fire - Foals
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. These songs demand attention like they demand volume; they require the space of repeat listens and the privilege of high fidelity audio presentation.
  2. Feb 11, 2013
    80
    On Holy Fire, the third album from the English band, the post-punk revival is given a newfound sense of depth, creating songs that are rhythmic enough to draw listeners, but hypnotic enough to leave listeners lost in their wide-open spaces.
  3. 70
    The pristine third album from UK rhythm junkies Foals is a study in contrasts. [Mar 2013, p.8]
  4. Feb 6, 2013
    80
    Foals were already a mainstream presence; now, they’ve made an album properly reflecting that status.
  5. It lacks a genuine peak like “Spanish Sahara” or “Balloons,” but it achieves greater consistency elementally, if not tonally.
  6. Feb 11, 2013
    70
    There’s plenty to commend it, but with such high expectations, it’s perhaps inevitable that this album could never live up to them.
  7. Feb 12, 2013
    70
    The rest of Holy Fire is a counter-punch to “Inhaler,” a swerve that then hits all the more powerfully for setting us up with this false start.
  8. Mar 6, 2013
    70
    The third Foals album doesn’t represent a huge leap forward from Total Life Forever’s formula so much as a refinement.
  9. 70
    They clearly understand their strengths and play to them, but they also generally know when too much is too much.
  10. Feb 6, 2013
    90
    Not only is Holy Fire utterly sublime, it’s a record that’s been six years in the making.
  11. 40
    Produced by arena rock specialists Flood and Alan Moulder, Holy Fire sounds pop sound insofar as it’s smoothed off, big and accessible.
  12. Mar 7, 2013
    66
    Holy Fire isn’t a straight home run for the Oxford-based quintet.
  13. Feb 6, 2013
    60
    Even when the groove lessens, doubters are liable to be persuaded by their innate knack for epic choruses.
  14. Feb 6, 2013
    60
    In all, a tad more mannered and staid than you'd expect from these former experimentalists. [Mar 2013, p.94]
  15. Feb 8, 2013
    90
    Holy Fire is the sound of a band utterly on form and completely on top of their game.
  16. 90
    Holy Fire brings new words to mind. Sharp. Emotive. Massive.
  17. Mar 7, 2013
    50
    Through their first two releases, Foals were able to showcase their evolving sound, but with Holy Fire, their evolution stops dead in its tracks.
  18. Feb 12, 2013
    78
    As a whole, Holy Fire is a bold effort from Foals, but like on Total Life Forever, there are few clear standout tracks admist a lot forgettable mood-setting filler.
  19. Feb 12, 2013
    76
    Like Total Life Forever, Holy Fire threatens greatness, and whatever disappointment comes from missing the mark is mitigated by its scope: A bomb needs to be operational more than it needs to be accurate.
  20. Feb 14, 2013
    70
    From an American’s perspective, Foals ranks above average in the UK indie universe, with generally better singing than on the Horrors’ releases, but lacking Wild Beasts’ aversion to filler and failing to match Friendly Fires’ ratio of straight-up sing-along moments.
  21. Feb 8, 2013
    80
    On this voodoo-inspired record of unfettered ambition, Foals have achieved a rare magic. [Mar 2013, p.100]
  22. Feb 25, 2013
    60
    Holy Fire is a collection of well-manicured tracks zoning out to a dazzling middle distance.
  23. Feb 11, 2013
    60
    It's a somewhat disappointing change of pace, but one that can nevertheless be appreciated by adjusting expectations; even if the band isn't pushing new boundaries, this new stance sort of fits them, coming across as a culmination of their previous material rather than a misstep.
  24. Feb 13, 2013
    80
    Take their third album, Holy Fire: It shreds.
  25. Feb 25, 2013
    74
    Ultimately, though, the bulk of Holy Fire is another sterling addition to Foals’ repertoire, and the band knows it too.
  26. Feb 12, 2013
    83
    Holy Fire slightly refines the agenda Foals established on Total Life Forever, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
  27. Feb 12, 2013
    75
    Foals haven't lost their math-rock edge; they've infused it with fun.
  28. Feb 8, 2013
    80
    Philippakis’s words are open and raw. As for their sound, it’s as vital and as fresh as ever.
  29. Feb 7, 2013
    80
    Like Total Life Forever, Holy Fire rather tails off in its second half.... Those complaints, though, are insignificant when set against the whole: an album by a British guitar band who want to win a huge audience without writing chantalongs for the drinkers' crowd, or lowest-emotional-common-denominator piano ballads.
  30. 60
    It's a one-sided album: following the soulful “Late Night”, things plummet badly in the second half.
  31. If this isn't Foals' pop classic or their art masterpiece, they're having a huge amount of fun squaring that circle.
  32. 85
    Holy Fire is Foals’ masterpiece because it ties in the rhythmic nature of their debut, the soul of the second album, producing finally the rhythmic soul of its own.
  33. Feb 19, 2013
    60
    Foals remain the antithesis of a foursquare indie rock band. And yet nothing here is quite holy enough, or quite fiery enough, to live up to the album's billing.
  34. Feb 8, 2013
    80
    From the glissandos and vertigo of 'Milk & Black Spiders' to the jounce and yawn of 'Providence', in every note and noteless space you can feel it: the physical unburdening, the personal reckoning, the fatigue and reprieve of letting go.
  35. Feb 6, 2013
    70
    Holy Fire doesn't quite unfurl its devil horns.... But the production heft from Flood and Alan Moulder, as well as the shameless but satisfying amount of delayed guitar, means it all has serious stadium credentials. [Mar 2013, p.72]
  36. Feb 22, 2013
    80
    Holy Fire reveals a band adept at carving out arc and terrain in its music, and demonstrates a big step forward with a newfound coherence (from track to track as well as from instrument to instrument within songs).
  37. Feb 22, 2013
    50
    It is Foals-by-the-numbers, though, and the band's apparent lack of energy renders it cold and forgettable.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Feb 12, 2013
    10
    Highlights: "Milk Black Spiders", "Late Night", "Everytime" "Inhaler"
    An incredible album by an incredible band, Antidotes is amazing, it
    has amazing songs and sounds that get stuck in your head for a while and you can listen to most of the songs any time, but it was missing something, Soul. Total life Forever answered that with an incredible amount of soul and epicness (if that exists) in the album. But Holy Fire is a combination of both, an album with songs that get stuck in your head, but also have soul and they all mean something, they all are good, it had been a while since I had heard an album with 11 perfect songs. Full Review »
  2. Feb 12, 2013
    9
    I think Foals' best album to date. It just feels... complete. I'll admit I didn't found it as inspired as Antidotes (still my favourite album), but they finally managed to gave form and style to their kind of music. The result is a rough, hard sound with echoing melodies, and it's gorgeous.
    Sure someone will hate this. I think it's a matter of tastes, since technically speaking, Total Life Forever is probably better than this "tripping experience", and there are no really incisive hits (Inhaler is the only exception).
    Anyway, I highly recommend to listen to it if you liked their previous albums.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 17, 2014
    8
    hard to argue with the acclaim

    It's hard to argue with the acclaim and praise that has been heaped on this record. Holy Fire is an
    extremely well put together piece of work. The songwriting is solid and based on a style that lies somewhere between dark pop and indie but Foals definitely bring their own modern spin on these well trodden genres. The rhythm section of the band are on fire while the guitar work often bring The Edge of U2's more restrained work to mind.

    For me, its in the vocal department that Foals come up a little short. The delivery can be dull at times and its hard to hear any emotion in the vocals which in turn makes it difficult to recognise any feeling in the songs. Overall, an enjoyable record and well worth having.
    Full Review »