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Hope Drone - Void Lustre

Hope Drone
Void Lustre
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 31 August 2019, 8:39 AM

 Australian Death Metal may be a hot topic right now, but the Oceanian continent has yet to see many Black Metal bands (other than perhaps WOODS OF DESOLATION) crawl up from out of the underworld. Brisbane newcomer HOPE DRONE is in a position to change that status with its distinctive blend of dense atmospheres and withering, spacious blackness. Formed in 2011 by guitarists Karl Hartwig and Christopher Rowden, drummer Francis Kell, and bassist Aaron “Peege” Pickersgill, the band burst onto the scene with its 2013 self-­titled EP. They released their debut LP “Cloak of Ash” in 2015, and are back now with “Void Lustre,” which contains five lengthy tracks.

“Being into Nothingness” leads off the album; a thirteen minute beast. Clean guitar notes open the song slowly, with atmosphere building in the background. It has a depressing tone. Drums come in softly. Suddenly the main riff hits, and it’s like an earthquake. Though the vocals are harsh, it sound more like Doom Metal to me…especially from the pacing and big riffs. It begins to pick up pace around the half-way mark, sounding more like Black Metal from there…thunderous drumming and a wall of guitars. “Forged by the Tide” is about half the length of the opening track. The vile and harrowing sound is on full display here, shaking the very earth with the mixture of heavy riffing and rolling drums.

“In Floods Depths” is another monster track, opening with an in-your-face full attack. It’s a new era of Black Metal. When they talk about “dense atmospheres” and “spacious blackness,” it’s a bit of an understatement. The song is so black that it barely registers any light. All hope is lost. You are forever alone. There is no one around. All is nothing. This nihilist approach to Black Metal is relatively unique. “This Body will be Ash” is very long and comes at you hard right out of the gates. The sound stays active throughout. It’s a little bit too much of a good thing. Without passages to break things up, the sound is repetitive. They lay on that open note too much. Just as I say this the sound drops a bit and it’s a slow drone until the end of the track. It felt like I was dying for two years.

“In Shifting Light” closes the album…a seventeen minute beast. It’s pretty powerful from the start, and then loosens a little in the riffage. The sound drops to nearly nothing around the half-way mark. It slowly starts to build through the end of the song. Overall, it was a hard listen. Imagine you love cheesecake, but now you have to eat it for every meal for the rest of your life. That’s how I feel about the album. The intensity is so real that it nearly consumes you. The brief moments of semi-levity are just not enough to cut through the thickness of the songs. The band is tight however, and that denseness and nothingness are real. They have captured those sounds in the album, and their integrity is noteworthy. It was just a little too much for me. But if you are a fan of things that are this charged, you may enjoy this.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Being into Nothingness
2. Forged by the Tides
3. In Floods Depths
4. This Body will be Ash
5. In Shifting Light
Chris Rowden – Guitar, Vocals
Karl Hartwig – Guitar, Noise
Aaron Pickersgill – Bass
Francis Keil – Drums
Record Label: Moment of Collapse Records


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