Review Summary: Intergalactic, are you an overcompensator
Crusade to expand callendric systems for a universe of round worlds
I walked everywhere in 2004 when I was 14. I would be listening to 'Icarus' by Hopesfall on each of those walks. I've heard 'Icarus' over one thousand times. On the day Magnetic North came out in 2007 I made my dad drive me to Best Buy to purchase the album. I obsessed over the single, 'Bird Flu', easily reaching one hundred listens before possessing the album. Putting the CD in my dad's van and hearing 'RX Contender the Pretender' for the first time was thrilling. Magnetic North did not let me down. I have memories like this with Hopesfall more so than any other band. This band has provided a soundtrack to small moments of my life that I can look back on with happiness. Even before I recieved Arbiter in the mail, I had listened to 'H.A. Wallace Space Academy over one hundred twenty times, including many while I was once again, walking, only this time the walking was for my career. One of my top two or three favorite bands in my teenage years is better in my eyes now at 28 years old; without releasing Arbiter yet, mind you, there is a bit of bias to this write up.
Hopesfall records play out like individual, yet vital, cinematic experiences. Each song an important scene worth watering your eyes and ears over with a feeling that you can't blink, you don't want to miss a second.
Starting with A Types and by the time of Magnetic North, lead vocalist Jay developed a style where he scrutinized over every word he delivered, giving the best performance his mind would allow him to. Sometimes you have no idea what he's saying and looking at it as artsy is easy for many to do, and many even list this particularity about Hopesfall and Jay himself as something that makes the band better. Within a dozen listens of A Types and then Magnetic North I would already be dreaming of how the next album will entertain me. After Magnetic North I've had to wait for eleven full years for that answer and the worst and best part was that every album in Hopesfalls discography grew on me during that time.
Well...Arbiter seems like more of a grower than any previous Hopesfall release...
Every part of the band seems energized on this new album. The sound is dense like Deftones, but more complicated. The screaming seems prevalent, then you think the singing is the more prevalent. Then you're not sure. While Jay is off crooning the guitars appear out of nowhere, emphasizing themselves loudly, to a dramatic degree. Adam Morgan's drum work is absolutely impeccable, bring some of the same feel from Satellite Years strictly in terms of rhythm. However, there are plenty of moments all over this album that hearken back to each of the bands previous incarnations.
Whether you know who Hopesfall is or not, 'Faint Object Camera' will probably surprise and impress you. 'H.A. Wallace Space Academy' and 'Bradley Fighting Vehicle' give the listener a strong sense of new adventure. I sifted through 'C.S. Lucky One' and 'I Catapult' looking for more than I could find the first time around and had to return to appreciate them. 'Tunguska' provides a soothing jump start back onto a path that distracts you with all kinds of guitar laden and vocal harmonized beauty. 'Aphelion' will serenely, but solidly, set up a dizzying climax in the two punch combo of 'Drowning Potential' and 'To Bloom'. Everything settles upon the anticipated arrival of 'Indignation and the Rise of the Arbiter', displaying the most upbeat performance found on all of Arbiter. Finding the bonus track 'Revolt, Revolve' will satisfy any last cravings you had for an end credits scene.
I've built up anticipation for eleven years. After eleven listens of Arbiter I am not let down by that burning desire. I have a new piece of art that I will appreciate for another eleven years regardless of what Hopesfall does next, but I'm sure over those years my journey through the land of Arbiter will be worth the time.