There are three bands in particular that helped to shape my musical interests and affinity forever: At the Drive-in and Refused are chief among them.
The third is Hopesfall.
And though their early releases, including today’s album The Frailty of Words, feature almost a completely different band from later releases like The Satellite Years (where you’ll find my favorite Hopesfall song: “The Bending”), much of the same spirit is retained throughout the catalogue of the band.
Frailty, released in 1999, does sound dated nearly a decade and a half later – but that’s not a bad thing. It’s got the character and scars of a beat-up old CD that had its jewel case destroyed long ago, as well it should have.
The two stalwarts here have to be the bookends: opener “Shines Through” and the pounding, destructive “The Broken Heart of a Traitor.” These, along with a few tracks from the EP that follows, No Wings to Speak Of, were the first few Hopesfall tracks I listened to.
It took all of 10 minutes, and I knew that what was between my ears was a revolution. I haven’t turned my back on loud music since. Why would I?
One of the most harrowing lines I’d ever heard at that point are found on my favorite song, “Broken Heart of a Traitor.” It goes like this:
And I have come to realize my good moments were forged in self deception.
And the question that plagues my mind… is grace enough?
To build a bridge once burned, to fill what is hollow with the substance of virtue.
Though my views have shifted since then, I still think it’s a beautiful line reminiscent of the same thoughts I would have for a decade.
Elsewhere, “Lament” is a beautiful, twisting instrumental. Frailty sounds most like it was produced on the cheap on “Comfort” and especially “A Winter’s Rose.” But I’ll go ahead and make the assumption that it was recorded on a shoestring budget and maybe some favors called in.
All of these factors add to its raw, emotional state. At the time, it was the edgiest thing I’d ever heard.
In so many words: I’m thankful for Hopesfall.
From The Frailty of Words, this is “A New Day” –
Standout tracks: “The Broken Heart of a Traitor” and “Shines Through”
Weakest track: “From Your Hands” I guess.
RIYL: Late 90s/early 2000s emo/screamo/hardcore. Poison the Well, Early Thursday, Beloved, This Day Forward.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002T8XOY – No digital version available? What a crime.