AlbumsMay 31, 20244,876 views

The Hope Conspiracy Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception

Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception
1. Those Who Gave Us Yesterday 2. The Prophets and Doom 3. A Struggle for Power 4. Live in Fear 5. Shock by Shock 6. Of a Dying Nation 7. Confusion/Chaos/Misery 8. Broken Vessels 9. The West is Dead 10. The Specter Looms
2024 Deathwish Inc.
Our score 7


Last year, turn-of-the-century Boston hardcore staples The Hope Conspiracy broke a nearly 15-year gap of inactivity with an unannounced four-song EP. Confusion/Chaos/Misery was a more than welcome display of the group’s fiery rock-addled take on the genre, showing the five-piece was more than capable of tapping into the similar creative flows of their earlier work after all the missed time. The surprise EP was well received on every level, but more crucially, it provided a glimmer of hope that the band was finally going to present a proper follow-up to their last full-length, Death Knows Your Name, which was released 18 years ago.

On Tools of Oppression/Rule by Deception The Hope Conspiracy have officially returned. Reunited as their long-running lineup of vocalist Kevin Baker, bassist Jonas Feinberg, drummer Jared Shavelson, and guitarists Neeraj Kane and Jim Carrol, the band sounds as angry and nihilistic as where they left off in 2009. And while the ten songs contained on Tools of Oppression are certainly a solid batch of material, the record as a whole falls just short of what made their classics, Endnote and Cold Blue just that—classics.

Which of course is no slight, since those records should be in regular rotation for every hardcore fan, but there just does seem to be a certain something missing overall. The songs on Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception are certainly enjoyable tunes and offer a number of great moments (see: the guitar solos in “The Prophets and Doom” and “A Struggle For Power), but there’s a quality of sameness that runs throughout the record.

While there’s a handful of slower tracks (“Shock By Shock,” “Of a Dying Nation”), the band leans more heavily on the faster, more simplistic songs. And though the dynamic rock n’ roll grit of their previous material is certainly present, The Hope Conspiracy seem to be more interested in the straight-ahead bruisers this go-around. On tracks like “Broken Vessels” or “The West Is Dead,” the band steamrolls ahead on a steady stream of d-beat rhythms, with Baker’s gruff scream leading the way.

There is a good sense of dynamic ups and downs within the songs themselves. The Hope Conspiracy have always had a great sense of push-and-pull, and on Tools of Oppression, they express it well. Opener “Those Who Gave Us Yesterday” bounces between it’s groovy verse and punishing chorus while “Live In Fear” gains momentum with its noisy bridge section. While some of the songs themselves may resemble each other a bit, the band is still able to pull it off well.

But where Tools of Oppression/Rule by Deception misses the mark is mainly in its overall sound. The record comes off cold and mechanical, lacking the ferocious attack of the band’s earlier material. Sure, recording techniques and practices have changed over the course of the past two decades, but the intensity heard throughout Cold Blue and Endnote are half of their appeal anyway. Isn’t that really what a straight-ahead hardcore record is about, that palpable feeling of energy?

Nonetheless, The Hope Conspiracy are a good enough band to overcome these minor gripes. Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception may have some flaws, but overall it’s a pretty solid listen.

Bottomline: The Hope Conspiracy are back, and for that the hardcore landscape is better. Tools of Oppression/Rule by Deception might not reach the heights of the band’s classic records, but it stands as one of the better hardcore releases of 2024—take that as you may. It’s hard to see anyone putting this on over Cold Blue or Endnote, but as the long-awaited proper follow-up to 2006’s Death Knows Your Name, it’s more than good enough.


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easyhateoven 21 days ago

Not Zulu level

lake_flaccid 21 days ago

a Colin 7 is an Eliot 9

anonymous 21 days ago

I clicked on this assuming it would be a 10 because it's f*cking awesome but no... a f*cking 7?!?! Do you people even like hardcore?!

anonymous 21 days ago

Was stoked for this. But it's a 6

anonymous 21 days ago

Lyrics/imagery straight up Amnesty International meeting circa 1993

anonymous 20 days ago

It warms my heart to know Kevin Baker really sees this band from Death Knows Your Name onward. It reinforces why comparing this one to Cold Blue and Endnote, 24+ year old records as essentially a different band, is useless. Forget this lazy review. This record is a barrage of nihilistic brilliance.

easyhateoven 20 days ago

^^^ lol

rick____tocchet 20 days ago

All the reviewers on this site have brain damage.

anonymous 20 days ago

Weird comment section. The review actually says the album is good multiple times.

anonymous 20 days ago

anonymous 2 hours ago Weird comment section. The review actually says the album is good multiple times. Bathroom stall wall says the same thing about your mom.

Zortslob 20 days ago

Sounds gay

anonymous 20 days ago

My died last month

anonymous 20 days ago

I saw Rick in Walmart the other day wearing a headband, sunglasses, and a greasy gray T-shirt with a cat also wearing sunglasses on it, and the T-shirt said "I do what I want" and Rick was yelling at a customer for buying the last box of Kleenex with lotion, rumor has it the lotion is for his mustache, anyway the spat ended with Rick flipping off the customer as he said "I don't need this, I have an entire herd of people on lambgoat who will literally write about this moment in my shoutbox and you'll be so humiliated." He swaggered off to the self-checkouts and bought himself a silver ice Rockstar energy drink. It was the last time I'd ever seen him

anonymous 19 days ago

^ not even the least bit funny. Reads like a trind post

anonymous 19 days ago

^ cranky bc he just woke up after coming down from poppers

anonymous 19 days ago

record is solid. will see them enthusiastically when they come near me What I really want is suicide file tho

anonymous 19 days ago

FWIW the dumpster fire that is LG gave endnote a 7 when it came out. Cold blue is overrated except for Hope bound heart fight me

anonymous 19 days ago

Death Knows Your Name is their best record. You can agree or be wrong.

anonymous 18 days ago

Hope Con will always deliver, and while the review may not say this... every HC release is a classic, just how it is, at least for me.

anonymous 17 days ago

Love Hope Con and I like the record but review is spot on in that the production comes off flat.

anonymous 16 days ago

i like to f*ck ugly women, you must f*ck ugly women, hope conspiracy must be willing to drive 15 minutes to f*ck ugly women or their account will be deleted. this is not a dating site

anonymous 16 days ago

Rick's Stalker here. I saw Rick at the Gas Station the other day in Tampa, Florida. He was standing in front of a 6'7 BBC. Rick kept looking behind him at the BBC. Rumor has He was scared of getting analpoundingz from the BBC. Rick bought himself some Nachos and a silver ice Rockstar energy drink and ran out of the gas Station as fast as he could. It was the last time I'd ever seen him

anonymous 16 days ago

Those who gave us yesterday is easily the hope con's best song. These lamb goat reviews are so trash.

easyhateoven 15 days ago

penis conspiracy