Thursday, 27 August 2015

Hope Drone - 'Cloak of Ash' (Album Review)

By Chris Bull

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/07/2015
Label: Relapse Records


'Unending Grey' begins with some subsonic rumbles and distant keys before the traditional black metal blast and the Deafheaven meets Wolves In The Throne Room riffs fill the air with ambience. It slows down nicely towards the end (it's an ambitious 20 minute song) and leaves the notes to ring out and cling to the ether.

‘Cloak of Ash’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Unending Grey
2. Riverbeds Hewn In Marrow
3. The World Inherited
4. The Chords That Thrum Beneath The Earth
5. Every End Is Fated In Its Beginning
6. He Waves Forever Shatter Upon Our Shores
7. Carried Apart By The Ceaseless Tides

Hope Drone is:

Karl Hartwig | Guitars, noise
Christopher Rowden | Guitars, vocals, noise and organ
Aaron Pickersgill | Bass
Francis Keil | Drums and additional percussion 

The Review:

Relapse are certainly surprising people with recent releases, this time they've plucked Brisbane Australia's Hope Drone from obscurity to much aplomb. I had heard nothing of this band before 'Cloak Of Ash', suddenly they're the next big thing, let's see shall we?

'Unending Grey' begins with some subsonic rumbles and distant keys before the traditional black metal blast and the Deafheaven meets Wolves In The Throne Room riffs fill the air with ambience. It slows down nicely towards the end (it's an ambitious 20 minute song) and leaves the notes to ring out and cling to the ether. 'Riverbeds Hewn In Marrow' is very similar, I'll avoid the obvious reference to Altar Of Plagues...Damn, it got me! The song speeds during its finality and bleeds straight into 'The World Inherited' and blasts away while retaining the vast atmosphere. Again, it slows down to let everything breathe for several minutes. 'The Chords That Thrum Beneath The Earth' follows with some atmospheric guitar building up to the inevitable blasts. There's some interesting melodies to be heard, the guitars are a key element in this band. 50 minutes have passed and there are 3 songs remaining...strap in, you're here for the long haul! 'Every End Is Fated in its Beginning' builds with a hulking slow riff before some more following of the Altar Of Plagues blueprint. 'The Waves Forever Crash Upon Our Shores' and 'Carried Apart By The Ceaseless Tides' bring the album to an end, the former lasting a brief (by comparison) six and a half minutes and the latter 9 minutes which goes fast part, slow part, fast part, fade out much like every other song on this album.

I'm not saying this is a bad album, far from it! It's damn good. I personally think it is way too long, 4 tracks would have been plenty. Also there's the hype; "they're one Relapse, that automatically means they're awesome" when in reality, there are albums that have been released this year that are way more deserving of praise than this. This will probably make several end of year lists in the metal press, and fair play, it should be in the top 50, but as Chuck D and Co once said, 'Don't believe the Hype'.

‘Cloak of Ash’ is available here

RIYL: Altar of Plagues, Deafheaven, Tombs, Wolves in the Throne Room, Neurosis, Cult of Luna




Band info: Facebook  | Bandcamp

No comments: