The resurgence of Post-Hardcore in recent years has seen bands like At The Drive In, Underoath, Thrice and Glassjaw all release new material. While all brilliant, their albums haven’t necessarily quenched the thirsts of those who have been waiting the longest. What do we expect, though? Tastes change, and people grow.
Here’s where Hopesfall step in – Stepping back into the limelight after eleven long years of silence, their newest offering ‘Arbiter’ is a welcome reminder that they’re still very much alive and kicking. For a band who garnered such praise for their previous albums (most notably 2004’s ‘A Types’ and 2007’s ‘Magnetic North) a comeback album was always going to be a tricky task. Here we are though, and I am happy to say they are back with a bang.
‘Arbiter’ commences with the most recent single, ‘Faint Object Camera’. The near-instant barrage of monstrous guitars, coupled with vocalist Jay Forrest’s piercing screams, immediately causes heads to sway. The intricate guitar work, provided by Joshua Brigham and Dustin Nadler, helps to create the vibrant and spacey soundscape in which you could drift for hours.
All of this, underpinned with the rock-solid rhythm section of Chad Waldrup (Bass Guitar) and Adam Morgan (Drums) sets their fifth album off to a flying start.
This wall of filth continues throughout, as they reaffirm their status as one of the best in the business. With tracks like ‘Bradley Fighting Vehicle’ and ‘I Catapult’ giving Forrest a perfect platform to display his brilliant ear for melody, the release as a whole seems to encapsulate what was so beautiful about their previous works.
The stunningly lethargic interlude that is ‘Aphelion’ really is the icing on the cake for me. The juxtaposition of dark and light in that track sums up for me perfectly what Hopesfall are all about.
Usually, keeping a similar tempo throughout a release can indicate stale and tired songwriting, although this technique being employed throughout ‘Arbiter’, however intentional, sends the listener into a kind of gorgeous trance. Drowning in reverb and delay, the soundscapes that Hopesfall achieve are beautiful, dripping with angst and nostalgia.
Image by Mark Valentino
Closing this wonderful piece of auditory heaven is ‘Indignation and The Rise Of The Arbiter’. The powerful display of Adam Morgan’s intricacy is showcased wonderfully throughout this final track. Coming in at a lengthy six minutes and nineteen seconds, the daze in which the listener finds themselves feels like it could go on forever. Not that it’s a bad thing, of course. Heavy, monstrous guitars, married with equally haunting vocals, could not have been a better end to this opus.
With this album, Hopesfall have show they are here to stay for a second stint – and I (along with many others) will surely take them in. Some may be upset that they hadn’t gone back to their metalcore roots of the first two albums, but ‘Arbiter’ sits proudly as the perfect successor to ‘Magnetic North’ after a long eleven years. Let’s hope they don’t disappear again soon.