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Hopesfall Magnetic North

Hopesfall - Magnetic North
01. Rx Contender The Pretender
02. Swamp Kittens
03. Cubic Zirkonias Are Forever
04. I Can Do This On An Island
05. Secondhand Surgery
06. Vacation/Add/Vacation!
07. Magnetic North
08. East Of 1989: Battle Of The Bay
09. Bird Flu
10. The Canon
11. Devil's Concubine
12. Head General Hospital
13. Paisley
2007 Trustkill Records

Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 6/8/2007

Hopesfall have come a long way since their Christian melodic hardcore beginnings back in 1998 and despite their shifts and changes, they've managed to continue expanding their fanbase by making sure that whatever they put out, no matter how different it might be from their previous release, still maintains a relatively high quality of songwriting. Magnetic North sees the band continuing the evolution suggested by A-Types into a highly melodic, polished modern rock act. The album is a decided reach for commercial accessibility that doesn't sacrifice quality or content and even uses most of the more aggressive tricks in the band's repertoire.

Album openers "RX Contender The Pretender" and "Swamp Kittens" are both strong tracks and a good indication of what you'll hear on the rest of the album. Fairly basic verses with interesting melodies give way to more aggressive bridges and choruses. The rhythm guitar work stayss front and center while most of the leads hide underneath a mile of shoegaze reverb. Every so often something vaguely metallic stumbles into the song (in the case of "Swamp Kittens," it's the odd-time Meshuggah-style riff halfway through) and reminds the listener that Hopesfall hasn't completely forsaken their past despite their current direction. When the searing lead comes in and the ending of the latter track builds to its climax, things get epic.

The only times that Hopesfall seems even mildly uncomfortable is during the mellowed balladry that begins songs like "Cubic Zirkonias Are Forever" (their spelling choice, not mine) or constitutes the entirety of "I Can Do This On An Island," but once things get loud again, it's easy to forgive any temporary lulls that they may have caused. "Secondhand Surgery" uses guitar effects and production to raise the song's simple riffing to a dramatic new level, a technique that the band seems to have perfected. Jay Forrest's vocals combine the gut-wrenching emotional delivery of Tim Kasher with more technically accomplished range and execution. "East Of 1989; Battle Of The Bay" is a partly Dredg-esque tune that showcases both his ability and his restraint. The album might run a little long from here, but it's hard to fault the band for supplying more solid tunes than they needed to.

Bottom Line: Hopesfall have successfully made the seamless transition from a melodic metalcore/hardcore/emo/etc. act nearly ten years ago into an extremely talented modern rock act. Magnetic North is just as good as the band's previous releases, if not better, and fans who have stuck with the band won't have a problem embracing the band's latest step forward. Alternately, for those unfamiliar with the band, it's not a bad starting point as it is certainly their most mature effort to date in terms of songwriting, performance and production. If you're ready for something a bit less aggressive to fulfill your quota of "catchy," pick up Magnetic North.

anonymous   posted 3/13/2017 5:55:19 AM
great record, has aged very well
Allex_   posted 2/23/2010 11:22:36 AM
This album is wonderful. Great review. To the haters: As a person that is in a band of many albums, it is tedious to both attempt to please your fanbase and not hate yourself for the compromises at the end of the day. You can't expect a band to make the same music year after year. People change, the world changes, music changes. Yes, this album isn't brutal and there's none of their earlier heaviness, but all in all it's a solid transformation. A-Types wasn't well received because their listener
Boob_   posted 8/23/2007 10:26:49 PM
Roflcakes at saying Deftones did this better. Sure some guitar work here and there reminds of them, but 91.64% of the album has there own style. t-ts.
xnugx_   posted 7/31/2007 2:13:30 PM
A Types blew hardcore. I expected the same for this, but honestly it was very mature and well done album. It ain't no Satellite Years but honestly for what they are now, they are really good.
zach_   posted 7/31/2007 1:41:43 PM
does anyone know what happened to doug after he left the band, and why? what is he doing these days?

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