Have you ever been pleasantly surprised? I was all ready to hate this album. The unoriginal band name was probably a factor, as there are enough bands with “Hope Dies” in their name and I thought all the other “Hope Dies” bands sucked. AS HOPE DIES, WHEN HOPE DIES, etc. I’m waiting for a Metalcore band called BOB HOPE DIES at this point.
IF HOPE DIES is part of that much-hated-yet-deservedly-so scene called Metalcore. Those bands are a dime a dozen, yet finding one that is worth your time and money is harder that finding a needle in a haystack. And because there’s so many of these damn bands out there, great bands will be glossed over due to oversaturation. It happens every single time a subgenre gets more popular.
IF HOPE DIES is one of the many American bands that live, breathe and bleed AT THE GATES’ “Slaughter Of The Soul”. You know the ones. Do I even need to describe the sound to you?
The band succeeds by writing catchy material that doesn’t sound contrived, with great amounts of melodies, all without losing any of its heaviness and brutality. The singer can actually growl and his clean singing is just as powerful. Old SHADOWS FALL comes to mind when listening to this, as they were one of the first and best bands playing this type of Metal. The musicianship is stellar as well, with the guitars meshing these melodic guitar riffs and slick melodies while the rhythm is driving right through.
The one thing I hated about this is the occasional breakdown. Not that they don’t sound bad on their own, but lately they’ve been way overused and it’s sad that IF HOPE DIES uses them, because it just reminds the listener of every single other band that use them. It just kills the mood they’ve been building throughout the song. Luckily they’re few and far in between.
90% of the Metalcore scene is pure and utter derived shit. 9% of it is tolerable, yet nothing special. 1% is pure gold, which is unfortunately overlooked because there are too many bands out there playing this. IF HOPE DIES show that you can write stellar Metalcore and show it in spades.
Recommended. One of the best bands I’ve heard all year. (Online April 8, 2006)