Review Summary: A pleasant surprise
Over the course of two albums prior to this release, The Color Morale have founded themselves on personal, honest lyrics and solid musicianship. As a result, Know Hope has been awaited by a considerably large number of people with surprisingly baited breath.
Vocalist Garret Rapp has undergone a slight vocal shift, ditching most of his lows, but still retaining his cleans and unique style which propels this band leagues above your run-of-the-mill high pitched metalcore outfit. It almost ventures into hardcore territory, which makes sense.
One listen to Know Hope and it's clear there's a consistent quality that weaves through. While I'm not saying it's completely void of filler, it certainly doesn't have a song that stands out as being 'bad'. There's attention to detail with intros and outros, meaning there's no two song that sounds the same- it's nice to listen to a recent metalcore album without having the issue of songs just mushing into each other with no discernible difference. Saying this, the main bodies of the longer tracks sometimes can fall prone to repetitiveness, but this is forgiven when you realise that the lyrics that have been penned into the record are well worth investing into; something this band have always prided themselves on.
Burn Victims is a great introduction to the album. The listener is thrown headfirst into the song, which itself is a fast, furious assault that is as catchy as it is coarse. However, as this song introduces you to an album full of merits, it also introduces you to a couple downfalls of the album. The breakdown that's incorporated into the end of Burn Victims really slows the pace down for a moment, and it doesn't feel necessary. Don't get me wrong, TCM really use breakdowns sparingly; it's just you feel they could have utilised them a little better when it comes to timing.
Strange Comfort, Steadfast and album outro Never Enders are 3 examples of anthemic tracks on Know Hope. Well written and brilliantly performed, these 3 tracks really stand out as songs that sound like they would work perfectly live. Strange Comfort, that was released as a single prior to the albums release, is an incredibly well penned song that does what The Color Morale set out to do with this album- send shivers down your spine. Letting the song slow down, releasing gang vocals and Rapps indispensable cleans making for an infectious chorus all make for a highlight on the album.
Another highlight is Saviourself, which sounds like it's going to be the album's resident ballad, but soon explodes into a firmly placed track that plays on the bands religious beliefs. Another song that falls victim to the ill-placed breakdown, but more than makes up for it with a brilliant riff that sends the song out well and makes for a stand-out moment on the album.
The album as a package, is great. Twelve songs that really pack punches and account for this albums replay-ability. Sure, there's filler here and there, and there is a identity crisis whenever certain metalcore clichés rear their heads, but Know Hope does a great job at keeping The Color Morale above their chugchug counterparts.