01. A Distant Memory 02. Birthplace and Burial Site 03. My Words to You 04. Awaken 05. To Mend the Wound of a Plagued Heart 06. Letters of our Existence2002 Undecided Records
by Geoff Harman
With the ever-growing stable of melodic metalcore bands around these days, it's hard to separate the unique, from the ones that are just plain blatant rip offs. As Hope Dies is by no means a "rip off". Though many unfamiliar with the band may presume this release is riding the coat-tails of the current metalcore fad, this could not be farther from the truth. As Hope Dies has been revolutionizing there own brand of hardcore for a few years now. The fact that this EP is just being released now is inconsequential. Not unlike many death/metalcore bands, "Birthplace..." comes complete with an intro track. After about a minute or so of eerie one-note piano and violin strokes and some simple tribal drum beats, "Birthplace and Burial Site" starts in and right off-the-bat you can get a definite feel for their overall sound and style. This track has the most presence out of all the songs on the album.The second track, "My Words to You," comes on in just about the same manner as the preceding track, but this time, vocals are wailing along. This is the most straight-ahead metal track on the album, no fooling around, not too much more mixed in other than a breakdown here and there, just blastbeat metal at its best. The last three tracks are the more melodic metal tracks, ("Awaken", "To Mend the Wound of a Plagued Heart", "Letters of Our Existence") including singing, some keyboards, and acoustic parts as well, but still metal.As for the aforementioned singing, though well done, it is very subtle, not to mention few and far between so as to not discourage "true metal-heads" with gratuitous singing. While the music is more along the lines of their admitted influences, such as At the Gates, In Flames, Otep and others, don't expect "Birthplace..." to be just a fast-picking metal-fest. As Hope Dies is also very influenced by hardcore heavyweights Shai Hulud, thus the hardcore edge is well represented, and evenly blended into each track. Bottom Line: "Birthplace..." doesn't have much that one could complain about. The recording quality isn't the best, but it's good enough, so luckily nothing is really taken away from the music. Each instrument sounds especially thick, as well as the vocals. Obviously, it's somewhat hard to categorize this band. They're not really hardcore, nor are they death-metal, and I wouldn't go far enough as to call them a "crossover" band. Truly, there is a little bit of everything to be expected on "Birthplace...".
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