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Hope Drone: Cloak of Ash

Remember that story by Stephen Crane called "The Open Boat?" It's the one where a group of sailors are stranded at sea, not far from shore, but not exactly close enough. At times, the story is a reflection on the despair and hopelessness of contemplating death while knowing that you could also be waving to people and that they will see you. I'm butchering the story in my short description, but it'll do. The point is that the music here reminds me of that story, especially of the way that dreadful moments sometimes come with such biting irony that there's nothing left to do but accept the dictates of fate. One of the song titles applies here—"Every End is Fated in its Beginning." A bleak view, but one that nevertheless comes across pretty clearly on this album.

The music here is dark and layered and powerful. I didn't always like it, but I don't think that matters. Listening to this album must be done actively, without distractions. As each song moves forward, they also move more deeply, taking listeners to interesting rhythms and beats. Sometimes the droning guitars prevent the kinds of contemplation this style of music can elicit. No matter; the drums do their own kind of conjuring and they do it well. The instruments all sound great. The vocals were nearly always distracting to me. I don't mind the harsh singing style at all, but I felt like the mood of this album needed some vocal variety. I wasn't crazy about this album—the songs are often too long and the mood is often too bleak—but I found myself enjoying repeat visits to two tracks: "Every End is Fated in its Beginning" and "The Waves Forever Shatter Upon Our Shores." The latter was especially interesting to me since it took me back to the image of those struggling sailors in Crane's story and their resignation to the powerful, indifferent, energies of nature.

Track Listing:
1. Unending Grey
2. Riverbeds Hewn in Marrow
3. The World Inherited
4. The Chords that Thrum Beneath the Earth
5. Every End is Fated in its Beginning
6. The Waves Forever Shatter Upon Our Shores
7. Carried Apart by the Ceaseless Tides

Added: November 9th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1211
Language: english

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