Review Summary: Curse of the sophomore slump strikes again.
Dubstep is literally everywhere. It seems that even metal, in its various forms, cannot escape its clutches. Bands such as We Came As Romans, Asking Alexandria and Attack Attack have been mixing dance with their Metalcore sound since inception, and recently these bands have become among the biggest in the scene. This has led to more conventional bands joining the bandwagon. For instance, Bring Me The Horizon had a whole remixed dance album, and Asking Alexandria soon followed suit. Even seasoned veterans Korn got sucked in, with their horrendous last album a few months back.
The latest band to incorporate dance and dubstep is Italian Post-Hardcore mob Hopes Die Last. Their debut ‘Six Years Home’ was released 3 years ago and is one of the scene’s best kept secrets. Now, they return for their second album, ‘Trust No One‘.
It starts off well, with opener ‘Never Trust The Hazel Eyed Girl’ exploding out of the gates and sounding just like how ‘Six Years Home’ left off. As the bridge begins, some vocals that sound remarkably like Korn start, before they get chopped up heading into the breakdown, but overall, however, the song works and is one of the best songs on the album.
First single, ‘Unleash Hell’, see’s the band going for a more Metalcore like approach. At first it sounds like a good attempt, with bassist Marco Calanca’s cleans in the chorus combining well with Daniele Tofani’s screams. Half way through, however, the roman band make a big mistake. “Let’s get the *** out!” screams Tofani before an electronic breakdown takes over entirely, destroying all momentum the song previously had. Even some stellar vocal work by Calanca cannot save this song from being a cliché, generic waste of time.
One of the most refreshing moments in ‘Six Years Home’ came in the form of the instrumental ‘An Endless Serenade’, which led into ‘Under This Red Sky’. The instrumental let each instrument shine and led into the song perfectly, so it was nice to see Hopes Die Last try this again. ‘The Blue’ starts with a piano before electronics take over. Sadly this has it has no connection to the next song, but does serve to break up the record.
Track nine is a cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. Not only is this far, far worse than the original, it features screams by Tofani that genuinely sound like vomiting at points. The chorus is nicely done, however they felt the need to add yet another breakdown, which only adds to the mystery of why this was included in the first place. Penultimate track ‘Icarus’ is a piano led ballad, although again, electronics take over halfway through this overly long track.
Up until now at least Hopes Die Last contained their dubstep influences, however for the last track, ‘Keep Your Hands Off’, they got Drum And Bass artist Netsky to give them a hand. The result is a song that would have sounded at home on Korn’s latest release, and generally just sounds a mess. This should have only been released as a B side, and as a result of being the final track, leaves the album ending on a sour note.
This release is not just disappointing due to the electronics, Hopes Die Last have gone backwards in other area's since their debut. The lyrics have gotten so poor they have started including A Day To Remember style breakdown calls such as in the aforementioned ‘Unleash Hell’ and when they do try and emulate their first record, the songs sound like the B sides to ‘Six Years Home’. Instrumentally their over reliance on breakdowns mean they end up having no effect.
If it seem's like I am being harsh it's because I was looking forward to this and feel let down. This isn't a terrible album, it's just hopelessly generic. As for the electronics, hopefully it's just a fad that bands will give up when they realise how bad the idea is. For now, we can just hope.