With the close of 2013 now behind us, I look back at the plethora of great metalcore releases from the past year. Standout albums from Misery Signals, Bring Me the Horizon, Fit for an Autopsy, and Alpha & Omega were some of the best. The British band High Hopes threw their debut album, “Self Revival”, in the ring for consideration on November 11, 2013.
Press play on “Self Revival” and from the opening track, ‘Seize the Chance’, High Hopes lets you know what to expect from this record. Vocally Nick Brooks is at an almost constant powerful, but yet not dull, roar. The chugging riffs from guitarists Nathan Pryor and Krishan Pujara weave their way through tight grooves and br00tal breakdowns. The rhythm section of bassist Shaun Flanagan and drummer Daryl Pryor keep everything on pace, with the exceptional quality of Pryor’s kit work an unexpected treat.
This five piece unit pounds through the remaining ten songs, highlighted by the standout tracks ‘Strength To Strength’, ‘The Balance’, ‘Seeking Truth,’ and ‘Endurance’. There is a piano interlude that breaks up the first and second half of the album called ‘Echoed Steps’. I am not really sure of its purpose other than to give the listener a rest between sets of moshing.
One thing immediately noticeable throughout the songs is the understated melodic lead guitar work; heavy enough to keep it ‘core’ but light enough to keep it accessible. Slightly melancholic harmonies flow in and out of the songs. A pattern that reminds me of similar song structures to something from the aforementioned Misery Signals and The Ghost Inside. These melodies are what keep this record from being just another collection of breakdowns. They draw you in and make you give the songs a little closer listen.
Considering that High Hopes was founded just recently in 2012, the musicianship and song writing quality on this album are well beyond their years. I’m sure working with veteran producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Evile) definitely helped. High Hopes are not blazing a trail into uncharted territory with “Self Revival”. However; the five do mix their many influences from hardcore and metal quite well and wrap them up into a nice tight package. My wish is that High Hopes continues to grow with those influences, because if they do, they could be a force to be reckoned with in the future.