Review Summary: Some band's just never cease to impress...Hopesfall
is during ‘Magnetic North’
Josh Brigham - guitar
Jay Forrest - vocals
Mike Tyson - bass
Dustin Nadler - guitar
Jason Trabue - drums
Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Mike Watts
Original Release Date: May 15, 2007
Label: Trustkill Records
The Frailty of Words
Hopesfall is a band that follows the same suit as ex-label mate Poison The Well, who has undergone double digit line up changes. The members of the band seem to come and go and return like a revolving door but shockingly I’ve come to love all the phases that Poison The Well had gone through and the same goes to this band. It has taken three years (and a new guitarist) for Hopesfall to follow up from their previous release “A-Types”. “A-Types” was a dramatic change to a more melodic and mellow approach to what was once the frightening, fierce, screaming, and chugging guitars of “The Satellite Years” which many regard as a classic album. As usual when you cut your vocalized screaming in half on any new material, fans will think that you’ve sold out or went soft. Hopesfall has successfully matured their unique sound in “Magnetic North” and I believe will shut up everyone who thinks they’ve gone soft. Jay Forrest has given his best vocals I’ve ever heard from him which were powerful enough before. His mixtures of melody to relentless screaming feels like a hole in your chest that drips with emotion. The strong song writing trademark that gives Hopesfall their unique sound only betters itself during this album. Fans of the previous work from this band will make gesture to the fact that “Magnetic North” sounds like slices and snippets of “The Satellite Years” and “A-Types” combined. If you’re here to hear the quick verdict of this album then yes Hopesfall has once again worked hard to come up with a logical solution to the math equation of how to please fans of both albums.
“Rx Contender The Pretender” is the first single that’s been on Hopesfall’s myspace for the past couple of months. The song starts off with the spacey, matrix, like guitar presence that can be traced back to the trademark Hopesfall sound. Jay Forrest’s shredding screams kick off the noise as he phases into his “A-Types” like singing. The song has a great crescendo that crashes around into each pre-chorus and then rinses and repeats with different hooks and loops. The guitar builds up and crashes through the choruses and verses. The presence of the guitar with the vocals is enough to floor a person in this song. As the song follows a traditional song construction, it follows a not so orthodox version of it’s different verses and choruses. As the outro rolls in, it feels like a completely different concept/song then what was presented before. The atmosphere is so fresh. “Swamp Kittens” introduces a variety of effects and sounds through guitar. The guitar flows into a large wall of distorted sound which leaves me thinking back of “The Satellite Years”. The vocals don’t feel forced throughout this album at all and I can honestly say that I can appreciate this album alone if it was all just instrumentals. The vocals feel like an added element for the atmosphere that polishes all of the sounds around it. The intro effects on the guitar which sound like overflowing reverb with a delay is used throughout the song in creates a lot of clarity. The bass always feels moving throughout the verses with the drums but the guitar will always be the lead runner coming crashing in through the choruses.
“Cubic Zirconias Are Forever” starts off at a slower pace with drums and kicks in with a little guitar riff that follows through with the whole spacey vibe sound. The song feels weak because the singing doesn’t feel up to par and the music feels like it’s at a stand still until the 2:35 mark when the instrumentals really take a hold of the song and really save it from total boredom. “I Can Do This On An Island” proceeds with the usual guitar only intro but this song really shows off Jay Forrest’s vocal improvement. The whole clean guitar with his outstanding singing really shuts me down in the most peaceful way possible. There’s no doubt that so many people will love this song by just listening to it and there’s really no words I can say on how good it is. It has a very strong emotional vibe to it and is simple in execution but at the same time feels like a great little intermission from all of the distortion chunkiness. “Secondhand Surgery” is my favorite song of many off of “Magnetic North”. This song brings out the best of the band with it’s moving grooving bass lines and electronically sounding guitars. The vocals feel cryptic during the verses and blows out during the choruses. A great mixture of sound and vocals really has made Hopesfall one of the more unique bands. In 2:25 the instrumentation really takes a more aggressive and heavy like approach and is just another hook that draws the listener in. The carbon copying song construction won’t ever be found on an Hopesfall album and I’m sure of that. This song is the one I’d recommend for new listeners and old alike. It represents the best work off of this album and sums it all up neatly into a 4:30 minute package. “Vacation/ Add/ Vacation!” is a great transition from my favorite song and is another exceptional song that I previewed before the album came out. The vocals range from different tones and once again blows out during the chorus. Also, during the chorus the guitar takes a unorthodox sounding slide which feels like the speaker is being sliced into two. Little hooks turn into big catchy songs and it makes me wonder why more bands couldn’t hold the same potential that Hopesfall kicks out.
“Magnetic North” the title track is a song that starts off with an off settling guitar riff and is extremely short in poise. A song like this is made to carry along the concept sound of the album and really doesn’t stand out in my opinion because it doesn’t have the time given to do just that. As it feels almost like a filler, it feels more appropriate and a little boring, but still grateful to have. “East Of 1989; Battle Of The Bay” follows in similar paths of “Magnetic North” but is more successful in it’s poise. For one thing the effects and tempo are much more dominant and upbeat and the vocal performance is exceptionally good. The album might feel like it’s running out of steam a little… but “Bird Flu” takes back. The “Bird Flu” demo was pretty painstakingly bad to say the least. Let’s just say they fixed this song up. As it still follows through the same song construction, a lot of parts go outside the box unlike the demo. The vocals were also spiced up much to not being sung in the same monotone boring range. The song that scared me about the new Hopesfall sound comes back on this album and turns out to be a great success.
“The Canon” is an instrumental track that leads into “Devil’s Concubine”. The track doesn’t feel like a filler but once again feels appropriately made, and you really can’t even identify the transition to the next song. “Devil’s Concubine” carries the momentum that “The Canon” brought in it’s instrumental. It works successfully and breathes much life into the album by jumpstarting the listener to new interludes and sounds. The outro with the screaming and guitar slides had just left me breathless and really showed me how much this band grew with it’s sound. “Head General Hospital”, is a song that proceeds with the guitar solo intro twirling a little riff. The palm muted verses on the high strings with the dissonance is just a beautiful touch to the vocals and seem to accent them accordingly. As this song doesn’t feel to break the mold with any drastic changes in the song writing, it still executes well. “Paisley” was a little upsetting to me because the song didn’t feel like the best closure that could have been done for this excellent album. With there other songs like “The Bending” and “Per Sempre Marciamo” that really bring down the house, this song felt kind of like a vow out more than anything.
I Can Do This On An Island
As “A-Types” wasn’t a bad release by any means it left a foul taste in many of the previous fans of Hopesfall. I feel like with “Magnetic North” a gain of trust and faith can be restored by a band that creates great music from start to finish. The continuation of the progression of “A-Types” feels like a success as much as the nostalgia of “The Satellite Years” being placed in various parts. As there are flaws in some of the songs being too slow and not up to par with the ‘great ones‘, there is much room for appreciation to a band that feels like it’s always changing and getting better.
+ Atmospheric Vibe
- Corny Lyrics
- Many songs will follow the same sound