Review Summary: If metal was a sport, Hope For The Dying would be drastically outplaying their opponents.
Over the past few years I’ve fallen in love with metal. I love the rich textures of the huge, sweeping guitar riffs, the pummeling bass lines, the blatant pitter-patter of the drums, and I cannot forget the nearly dismaying blend of cleans and screams. Not only does metal quartet Hope For The Dying improve on their debut EP in their rookie release, Dissimulation, but they basically perfect everything I stated above, while adding epic string elements into each song that really seem to pack a punch. The band’s musing of styles, soft and heavy, is done in such a grandiose manner that Dissimulationis almost hard to forget.
From the intro track, “Exordium,” you would think you’re hearing the latest Hans Zimmer film score. Being such a huge Zimmer fan (I can’t get enough of his work from Inception and The Dark Knight), this track quickly drew me in. By the time the opening guitar riff of “Vacillation” hit, I was instantly hooked, and by the time I heard the first audacious screams from leadman Josh Ditto, I was in love. Hope For The Dying takes a sound along the lines of August Burns Red and spins it in a magnificent direction, making it as solidly written, instantly memorable, and technically polished as possible. The record is one continuous play also, which makes it that much more appealing to play all the way through.
The opening few tracks leave little room to breathe, as the strings at the end of “Vacillation” grab you off your feet and instantly hit you hard as the intro “Orison” administers, with a great arrangement of staccatos (and I can’t forget the permeating French horns in the background). My favorite part of the song, though, aside from the haunting up-and-down riffage, is a single timing when the metal and strings hit peaks and mesh together like magic. At this time, I was feeling goosebumps. It was just that well done. Later tracks like “Perpetual Ruin” and “Immiment War” start out like songs that would be on a video game soundtrack, something along the likes of a Zelda or Elder Scrolls game. But as soon as you get sucked into the ravishing orchestra, the huge guitar flashes in once again, and another perfectly executed metal song takes over.
“The Awakening” tracks, split into three songs (seven through nine), bring enough diversity and ubiquity to a record that’s already overflowing with greatness. Though the piano in the first “Awakening” gets me every time, the last “Awakening” track has to be my favorite, where the clean vocals contrast the brutal screams excellently. As the song ends, Ditto’s screaming of “set me on fire” is nearly chilling, gratuitously ending another inconceivable track. Being a Christian band, Hope For The Dying doesn’t deprive their music of strong lyrics. The themes of the band’s songwriting are pretty darn unique, especially considering the faith that fuels them. Just by seeing the song titles, you can tell these dudes have an expansive vocabulary. Their songs are also powerfully, powerfully written. Some of the most staggering lines come in the heart-wrenching “Vacillation” and the faith-based “Orison.”
I’ve always thought it’d be cool if strings were composed around metal, and I don’t mean just We Came As Romans’ smooth orchestraic blend. I mean something just downright epic. Hope For The Dying made their combination of metal and strings epic. Where other bands would fall, these guys rise. Dissimulation doesn’t have a single skippable track; in fact, I could even argue that this snowball of an album gains speed and strength near the end. Consisting of very little filler and tons of playback value, it’d be a wise argument to say that Dissimulation is one of the most attractive metal releases, and overall, one of the best executed albums of 2011. In fact, it’s probably one of the best metal albums of the year.
Hope For The Dying have the talent, the ideas, the collaboration, the mindset, and the writing skills to take them anywhere, and with their debut full-length, they’ve seriously outdone a lot of metal releases that I found to be great. Dissimulation is epic in every sense. The only negative? The fact that it’ll be hard to beat it.
Also found on The Review Spider: http://thereviewspider.net/2011/08/dissimulation-hope-for-the-dying/