High Hopes – Self Revival (Review)

A melodically ferocious marriage of hardcore and metalcore, High Hopes’ first full length album, Self Revival, gives British metal fans something to be proud of and the rest of the world to enjoy. Leaping into growling, percussive action from the first moment of its initial track, the collection pushes forward on a fast-moving flood of surprisingly agile drumming pierced by skillfully shaped, frantic guitar riffs and well-placed momentary pauses.

The spilling, tumbling peals of metallic pounding are dextrously shaped by the performers into songs that can be easily distinguished from each other, even if the basic melodic metalcore feel remains as a dark constant throughout. It is equally possible to listen to the whole album at once as a single relentless continuum, or to pick and choose according to mood.

Nick Brooks’ vocals are lighter than some of the deliquescing basses found in the bleaker, more pestilent corners of the metal genre, but is well balanced with the atmospheric, driving harmonies and effortlessly commands the middle ground between guitar and drum lines. The album breaks little fresh ground, but exhibits thorough mastery of its powerful subject matter nevertheless, producing muscular, pleasing metalcore results.

Though High Hopes is a British based group, the album is an issue on the Italian label This Is Core Records. The collection’s eleven songs occupy somewhat more than thirty-seven minutes of playing time, and includes Seize the Chance, Seeking Truth, Renew/Reform, 1953, Strength to Strength, Echoed Steps, Young at Heart, The Balance, Inner Demons, Endurance, and Days Fade to Grey.

Whether Self Revival is worth buying depends on the individual tastes of the listener. The majority of metal fans are likely to revel in some good, high quality metalcore and look no further than adding another excellent release to their shelves. Those seeking for the darker reaches of originality and the shockingly unexpected, conversely will gain little from the album. The disc is, in short, a good buy for most metalcore fans, tendering few surprises but maintaining a scorching, sinister energy from first to last.

– W.

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