4. In Isolation
5. Through A Nightmare, Darkly
6. The Lost
9. Open The Sky
Much maligned due to its relative creative stagnancy, metalcore has been pushed down the annals of history as simply just another ‘flavor of the week’ phenomenon. Much of the bands of yesteryear that rather frivolously worshipped the genre, have now either moved on to greener(for now) and djentier pastures or shed their roots completely or better, stopped being a band altogether. The few metalcore heavyweights that remain will run their course before the very same kids who adore them now will find more interesting bands as go up the aesthetic ladder. Despite the pitiable state of the genre at the moment, the hope now resides in a vibrant Christian metalcore set which includes the likes Becoming the Archetype, Oh Sleeper, Norma Jean, Advent and the once legends Zao. Then there is the relative genericide from the much established acts As I Lay Dying (their name has finally got up with Tim), August Burns Red and The Devil Wears Prada. The former set takes the cake for being a tad more creative than the latter half. Yet still all these bands have churned out a few good records over the years but all that seems to have come to a standstill in the last few years. Even the new Killswitch Engage record failed to evoke any sort of interest beyond its release date.
This is where Hope for the Dying comes in. They are a mishmash of metalcore and melodic death metal with song lengths that go beyond the usual metal norm. Calling them metalcore would be a blatant ignorance for they are much more than that. Splashing grandiose symphonic elements onto a seemingly intricate riff tapestry makes for one enticing bunch of songs. It should be! Right? Well, although this was the modus operandi, being notably epic, on their last full length and sophomore effort “Dissimulation”, it never clicked for me. For one it sounded much too forced with the overbearing keyboard sections reminiscent of latter day Dimmu Borgir, which I reserve a personal disgust towards. The riffs seemed to be going nowhere albeit hinting at something great but in the end falling well short of realization.
Aletheia is concise and sees the band with a single directive. Songwriting. They weeded out the almost ridiculous amounts of keyboard symphony, and replaced them with well timed and more subtler and yet majestically potent key ladened parts. The change in style is drastic for the symphonic elements take a back seat and the riffs, finally, come into the fore. Josh Ditto who handles both the vocals and the keys concentrates more on his vocals which albeit show signs of improvement still remain average at best. With most tracks going beyond the 5 minute track it makes good breathing space for the riffs and leads to fully explore and set themselves. With innumerable melodic hooks and seamless transitions this does enthrall the listener. These long wrought melodies are substantiated by heavier segments for traction which unlike its predecessor does not seem forced at all. Cool acoustic passages spring up at exactly the right moments, the best among them being the intro to In Isolation and the extremely cathartic instrumental Through a Nightmare, Darkly. Acceptance and Open up the Sky will probably go down as some of the best songs all year.
With a baffling yet blissful amount of shredding on a single album, spot on keyboards and stellar songwriting sees another band not letting ambition drown out its delivery. Aletheia sees Hope for the Dying on the threshold of self – realization.