Review Summary: Call Us Forgotten continue to progress from A Crusade For The Broken and craft a memorable and well-executed EP that has plenty of heart.
Metalcore as a whole is slowly fading by the wayside. Bands fall into cookie cutter trends and try to bring too much to the table, whether it's in terms of overproduction, poppy dance beats, and whiny clean vocal sections that break into often repetitive and boring breakdowns. While the essential "metalcore history/everything that's wrong with it" initial statement may be getting old, it was a proper introduction for this next statement. Bands forget why they started playing this type of music in the first place: The heart. The emotion. On A Hope Remains, Call Us Forgotten break nearly all of these trends while staying afloat on the sinking ship of metalcore.
CUF's first release, A Crusade For The Broken, showed two musicians constructing a solid, above-average EP. While songs were certainly packed with good harsh vocals and plenty of emotion, below-average production and mediocre clean vocals weighed it down. A Hope Remains shows a well-rounded and very refreshing side to a genre that's just plain getting old. "Her Name Was Vengeance" isn't the typical "scary" intro by any means. On the contrary, it's an anthemic number that builds and builds until Josh shows his improved singing by belting, "please take me now!" The addition of CJ on guitar is a welcome one as well, as his singing voice is great, if not better than Josh's. My only complaint with this is that CUF could greatly benefit by adding more harmonies to the singing in the future, something that would have helped the overall structure of things a lot more. After "Her Name Was Vengeance," the re-recorded version of "A Crusade For The Broken" begins. At first listen, the improvement in production is clearly noticeable. Vocals have improved greatly as well, as Kory adds a lot more lines to songs, and Josh's lows no longer sound robotic.
Bring On The Empty Horses is by far A Hope Remains' stand out track. Showcasing everything CUF has to offer, it features Sleeping With Sirens' vocalist in a very melodic, string filled section of the song. Even if A Hope Remains isn't your thing, at least check out BOTEH. The "heaviest" song on the CD is definitely "Under An Ashen Sky," as it has the most breakdowns of any song on A Hope Remains (still not that many), and includes a few very well placed gang vocal sections. It also features some of the most skillful riffing on the disc. Like their previous release, songs do not drag on too long, repetitiveness is almost non-existant, and the harsh vocals are very good. CUF also switches up vocal delivery and who delivers the lines a lot, which is a big advantage for them compared to most metalcore bands. A Tragic Metaphor is a pleasant and short melodic intro that breaks into the re-recorded version of "Forgotten." Like "A Crusade For The Broken," the production is miles ahead of their first release, and features improved vocals, especially in the last minute of the song. Another high point is the end of "Forgotten," as it features plenty of strings/keys and some of the best singing on the CD. The last track on the disc is a cover of Kanye West's "Heartless," and to be honest it's a pretty competent adaptation of the hip-hop song.
Overall, A Hope Remains shows that CUF is not content with mediocrity. With 5 members now and each of them bringing something new to the table, this CD is a worthy addition to any fan of metalcore. If you aren't a fan, give it a shot as regardless. There is little to be disappointed by.
Bring On The Empty Horses
Great Vocal Work