Hopes Die Last
TRUST NO ONE
I won't lie here - I was a fan of the early versions of nu-metal, or metalcore or whatever you want to call it. More than anything, if there's a shift in sound and it's still heavy sounding, I generally will like it for awhile. When people start mimmicking it, but don't do it as well is when I lose interest in trend hopping bands. I would say that I jumped off this bandwagon about the same time that Howard Jones joined Killswitch Engage. While that band is OK at times (definitely not a big favorite of mine), the new breed that followed for the last five or six years has been, to put it bluntly, pathetic. I'm screaming because I'm angry. Now I'm singing clean but slightly out of key to exhibit my emo pain of my existence. Now I'm screaming again while our downtuned riff churns in circles. Yeah...we all get it. Further, most fans of metal checked out on it.
That said however, a band cranking out some metalcore has caught my attention recently, and I can't stop playing it. Hopes Die Last return with a much improved sound, more diversity and just better songwriting with their latest release, TRUST NO ONE. While their last release SIX YEARS HOME was fair, it fell right in line with that same collection of bands like Asking Alexandria, Aiden and the like that comes off as whiny and boring. Not here. This band has improved dramatically musically. They also have done a much better job capturing themselves in the studio. Songs like "Unleash Hell" punch you in the face with the force of Mike Tyson on a PCP high, and yet that only scratches the surface of what's going on here. Musically, TRUST NO ONE is so diverse that almost anyone into modern metal will be aptly satisfied. The ballad "The Same Old Fears" is especially unique here. Lead by some well placed techo beats and soft piano, this song could easily be mistaken as a ballad by Linkin Park instead of an upstart metalcore band. That has a lot to do with vocalist Daniele Tofan. In short, this guy is the force behind this band. His crooning voice is solid, and his aggro-screams are as strong as anyone's out there today. Unlike most bands of this ilk, Hopes Die Last act as a cohesive unit instead of a layered, non-organic packing of whining. Songs like "Icarus" are well structured; showcasing the perfect mixture of guitars, thick rhythms and one of the most fluid timing changes from fast to slow I've heard in a very long time.
While this release is great, it does occasionally showcase a few flaws here and there. While these guys are clearly finding their sound, the experimentation on it with studio tricks is a bit over the top on occasion. They tend to get a little bit Trent Reznor-like with the knob turning on "Never Trust The Hazel Eyed" and the aforementioned "Unleash Hell". It's more like overkill on xxxxx It's a minor thing though, and one they will probably grow out of.
PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - Hopes Die Last kick off the new year with a surprisingly solid dose of metalcore that's weak on whiny and strong on diversity. With the right tours and promotions, you could see a lot more of this band because they clearly have the chops to be a force with today's youth. TRUST NO ONE is about as good as this genre gets.