Here we have the third full-length album of Hope For The Dying (HFTD). This is also the third release for Facedown Records. Before this, they released an EP on Strike First records. The cover work is done by Dave Quiggle and the album is engineered by Josh Barber (War Of Ages, Norma Jean).
It all begins with the intro ‘Aurora’ which has an medieval sound to it. That makes sense if you keep in mind that they describe their genre themselves as: “A Progressive Death Metal Soundtrack to Braveheart”. I would personally call it a blend of Powermetal/Death Metal/Metalcore and many more. There also are a lot of symphonic elements.
The first real song ‘Setting Sun’ contains all the aforementioned elements, right from the start it has that epic sound and feel to it. I even hear a small blast beat at the beginning where it is a fast up-tempo song. ‘Flame Forged’ begins acoustic and even with a whistle, again that medieval sound. Slowly building up to a heavy climax. They don’t shun the use of the keys which are well played by James Houseman. Every song is full of them but not in a irritating way, it is adding a deeper layer to the overall sound.
‘Flame Forged’ has a guitar-solo in it before we hit the one minute mark which strongly reminds me of Narnia, especially when the keys play a more classical melody underneath it all. A powerful song which will also attract the powermetal fans as well the fans of more extreme metal.
Next song ‘Nemesis’ has a more aggressive feel to it and some menacing dark sounds. Also the screams tend more to Death metal in this song which, by the way, is with 3.32 minutes the shortest song on the album.
‘Trenches’ begins with a sound that could easily fit in a movie where the hero of the story is chased by the bad guys. To keep it in movie terms: the hero is fleeing from his pursuers and sometimes he looses sight of them so he can breathe freely, only until they find him again and again he has to run for his life…. At the end of the story/song they got him and there is where we hear dejected classical strings. I am only talking about the instrumental side of this song, I have a big imagination so I am making this up myself to explain the music which, all by itself, sounds like a story. Maybe this is too vague for you but it came into my mind.
The song that follows is ‘Wretched Curse’ is one of the highlights on this album for me, this song is just epic!! Up-tempo but with a lot of tempo-changes, and the solo’s really hit home. Goose-bumps all over… When, approximately, the song hits the six minute mark it slows down, only to build up again to a climax. And then it all slows down again and we have a mellow outro, beautiful.
‘Wander No More’ again has all the mandatory elements. The title track ‘Legacy’ is with 9:16 minutes the longest track on the album. Well, if this should be the last song that we ever hear of HFTD then they leave us a true legacy. Brendan Hengle almost beats his drums to smithereens. This song also has it’s calm moments, and again, to build up to the climax that we have come to expect by now. And also an outro with strings.
What to say about the last song ‘Adamantine’? This one begins with what sounds like an organ underneath the guitars. A song with very fast parts interspersed with it’s calm moments.
Well, what is the conclusion? Normally I only listen to hard/metalcore, HFTD does not fit into that profile but I know when I hear quality. And this is of such high quality that I only can give this album a high mark. I am truly impressed by the musicianship of HFTD.
Written by: René Woning
2. ‘Setting Sun’
3. ‘Flame Forged’
7. ‘Wretched Curse’
8. ‘Wander No More’
Josh Ditto: Lead Vocals/Keys
James Houseman: Guitar
Jack Daniels: Guitar
Brendan Hengle: Drums
“Hope For The Dying” EP (2008)
Record label: Facedown Records, March 2016
Video for ‘Narcissus’
Video for ‘Wretched Curse’