Decomposed (UK)
Hope Finally Died...


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
November 25th, 2008 | 50 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A forgotten gem.

The rise of death/doom, much like the evolution of many sub-genres, cannot be pinned down to a single set of bands, nor regions. Undoubtedly, many bands which were a product of said evolution, or even the instigators, remain largely forgotten. Winter is one such example; a band that took death metal and slowed it down, in a way institutionalizing the sound that death/doom would later have. Then it was other bands such as My Dying Bride and Katatonia, for example, which popularized the genre, unfortunately overshadowing the enormous influence that the work of bands like Winter had created. Death/doom was born out of the combination of death metal and slower tempos, and the evolution can be distinctly noted. Death metal bands of the late 80s were slowing themselves down, still being for the most part death metal, but making the doom influence very obvious in their music. The sound would then later be again built upon, most bands losing a lot of the ‘death’ characteristics in favour of more sinister and gothic elements. Decomposed were a short-lived band from the early 90s, and belong to the transient stage of death/doom, before the aforementioned evolution had been completed; in this respect, they are very much still a death metal band, and most of today’s typical death/doom constituents are absent. This can be regarded as a very good thing.

Hope Finally Died… was released in 1993, at the very peak of the UK’s death/doom boom. That year saw Anathema’s Serenades and My Dying Bride’s Turn Loose the Swans released, while Paradise Lost’s Gothic had been out for the better part of two years. It’s unfortunate that Decomposed did not last long after the release of their debut, as the album is as good as, if not better, than all of these albums. Not only is it good in a doom metal sense, it has the wider appeal of being very largely steeped in its death metal roots, so much so that anyone with an interest in death metal would easily find it enjoyable. As a death metal album, Hope Finally Dies… is excellent; it remains constantly inventive, not once stagnating or becoming repetitive. Its blend of solid death metal riffing and down-tempo face pummeling is fantastic; a hint of melody is apparent in the doom-inspired sections, but this does not in any way detract from the album’s forcefulness. Musical themes are of course repeated within various songs, but Hope Finally Dies… does not at any stage resort to linear structures; there is a very notable progressive element to the album’s sound, and coupling this with the whole concept of doom gives the album scores of additional depth.

What makes Hope Finally Died a success of an album is that it manages to retain a very typical death metal sound throughout its doom engagement, evident in its superbly conducted instrumental work, yet is still invigorated by an ominous and menacing atmosphere. ‘Taste the Dying’ is a prime example of this. The track starts off with a chaotic couple of minutes before coming to a sudden halt; Harry Armstrong then delivers the line ‘look at me and see that I am dying / is this my funeral?’, and the song shifts into a doom mode, characterized by its sinister guitar leads and crushing riffs. The juxtaposition between death and doom metal on the album is quite simply sublime, and perfectly exemplifies the transient stage between the two genres. In this respect, when listening to Hope Finally Dies…, one has the best of both worlds.

As mentioned before, the instrumental work on Hope Finally Dies… is exemplary. Lead guitars are very prominent, in stark contrast to the usual doom aesthetic, but Decomposed pull it off with a strong sense of grace and finesse, as can be seen on ‘At Rest’. The solos are very cohesive with the album’s sound, and are not overplayed – the guitarist is seemingly modest, opting out of mindless wankery and avoiding the slippery slope of intangible clutter. What results is an album that is played from the heart and not from the head. Drummer Tim Spear, however, cannot keep his hands down, and his constant barrage of beats is very much a driving force of Hope Finally Dies…. Unfortunately, the jaded production somewhat drains the life out of the bass, and although it becomes drowned out in the more frantic sections, its existence is duly noted when Decomposed slow themselves down. Nevertheless, if not for his bass, Harry Armstrong is to be commended for his vocal work. Easily some of the best you will hear, his gutturals are dense and throaty, consistently sounding brutal but never falling into monotone or indecipherable babble. Furthermore, his deep tone just registers in an excellent assonance with the permeating riffs, supplementing the album’s flavour.

Ultimately, Hope Finally Dies… represents the lost tier of death/doom. Being part of the late 80s/early 90s death metal scene who realized playing a little slower wasn’t all that bad, Decomposed unfortunately broke up shortly after the release of their debut. Perhaps this was a good thing in the sense that it prevented them from becoming a dull prog band (see Anathema, Paradise Lost), or a gothic one hovering on the borders of mediocrity (see My Dying Bride). Nonetheless, Hope Finally Dies… remains as a testament to the time when death/doom wasn’t about the synth, dual harmonies and operatic vocals that one would now associate with the genre; rather it was about, quite literally, death and doom, and not much else. Highly recommended.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


I am sort of stuck between a 3.5 and a 4, but I went with the latter because I've really been enjoying the album lately.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008


16466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I saw this when I was browsing a Doom Metal blog today, never really grabbed my attention but this review is pretty much gonna make me go back and get it. Good work, you've been churning out a lot of reviews.

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


Yeah it's definitely worth a listen. Semester is over and I'm taking the opportunity to write more, at least until I get busy with work and other shit.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008


16466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

One minute into this and I'm already loving it.

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


The first song is great later on, but at first seems a little dreary, but then 'Taste the Dying', 'Falling Apart' and 'At Rest' are really impressive.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008


20857 Comments


You're "taking the opportunity to write more"!!! Holy $hit... Do you sleep Rasputin?

joshuatree
Emeritus
November 25th 2008


3742 Comments


the albums you positively review are basically must gets for me now ras

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


Do you sleep Rasputin?

Not enough!

the albums you positively review are basically must gets for me now ras

Your devotion is appreciated mate, I'm hoping you've liked most of them. We do share reasonably similar tastes in music, so I'd assume so.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2008


16466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album feels good man -.-

SnackaryBinx
November 25th 2008


2309 Comments


I heard blast beats and put a frowny face on, then the blast beats quickly resolved themselves by not existing.

shit's good so far.

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


Rules.

jrowa001
November 25th 2008


8750 Comments


ill have to check this out. you never disappoint

SnackaryBinx
November 25th 2008


2309 Comments


i wish i could rate this -_-.
it's about a 4 from me.

rasputin
November 25th 2008


14555 Comments


yeah this rating bug is pissing me off

Zippermouth
November 26th 2008


1305 Comments


This review was a lot more serious than the last one. It was kinda depressing.

jingledeath
November 26th 2008


7104 Comments


great review as always.
Review made the album sound sooo good but I'm rarely interested in getting old albums.I might check this out later but now that I've found Janvs, my current priority is Belenos. This Message Edited On 11.26.08

rasputin
November 26th 2008


14555 Comments


Well if you get a spare moment check it out, it's a great album for its time. But yeah, Belenos before this, definitely.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2008


8019 Comments


Great review. So, Ras, will Doom ever be considered it's own genre here?

rasputin
November 26th 2008


14555 Comments


Probably not, the site's struggling to fix bugs let alone make any changes to its structure. I'll still be doing lots of doom reviews anyway, so maybe one day.

BallsToTheWall
November 26th 2008


44785 Comments


I'll just be happy when they fix albums with Apostrophes in them. Another missed review. Uni taking all my time my ass. You still churn thes mothers out like it's nothing. Good work. The new Decibel mag had a short ist of doom bands that i've been menaing to get into so might get back into it soon.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss



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