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Hopescure - Nostalgia Pt. 1 Award winner

Hopescure
Nostalgia Pt. 1
by Mark Machlay at 23 March 2020, 8:32 PM

Franco-Luxembourg quintet HOPESCURE formed more than 4 years ago in 2016 and has finally released their stunning debut “Nostalgia Pt. 1” with the obvious unasked question, how long do we have to wait for Pt. 2? In the first few years they were struggling to find a keyboardist to round out their sound and eventually resigned themselves to looking within the band. Vocalist Andy Abrantos took up the monumental task, though it seems as if the band sticks to backing tracks when playing the songs live. Guitarist Kevin Roy’s technical knowledge allowed them to create soundscapes and orchestrations beyond the bounds of their 4 piece and 2018 was dedicated solely to writing and recording demos and so much time was dedicated to the writing that they at first wanted to release a double album. They instead favored to split it in two and release each separately. Their first live gig in 2019 was used to determine which tracks would make the cut for the first album. The rest of the year would be spent finishing up production on what would later be “Nostalgia Pt 1”.

This is an absolutely amazing first album for any band and the hard work they put in in the years since forming are obvious. At first listen, one could think this is simply another DREAM THEATER clone, following closely in the most prominent prog metal bands footsteps. But other elements borrowed from older bands like the bending pinch harmonics of Dimebag Darrel of PANTERA and the more introspective parts in songs such as “Love Pt. 1”, “Reflection” and the intro of “Pain” are similar in tone to PORCUPINE TREE and OPETH.

But there are plenty of tonal, sonic, or structural nods to the vanguards of the genre. The drudgy, 7-string guitar of “Hate” is overall reminiscent of the pure metal turn of 2000’s “Train of Thought”. It even contains a riff that is certainly a spiritual nod to a riff in “This Dying Soul”, just after James Labrie whispers, “Don’t Cross the Crooked Step”. “Transition” is a proggy, twisty, turn-y instrumental that divides both halves of the album, a relentless riff bonanza that could easily be a spiritual successor to “Stream of Consciousness” from the same album. As well, the entire production of “Reflection” is so similar it could have been a cut left off of 1997’s “Falling into Infinity”.

There are a couple criticisms. The one that may be obvious, it’s a very guitar oriented album despite having keyboards and other productions sprinkled in. Personally, it’s not a detractor but I can see why some may take issue as the guitar is the main driver of almost every single song. But guitarist Kevin Roy is such a virtuosic talent, I could listen to an entire solo album of material and not get bored with his compositions. “Hate” is by far the highlight, strikingly from the first solo of ascending thirds through to the blistering solo that nearly ends the track, it showcases a young talent possibly being held back by his influences but longing to be heard. Also, the vocalist has amazing range but does not seem to have much stylistic change throughout the album which can make it seem monotonous at times.

But, overall, the production is clean, crisp and polished and I eagerly anticipate the eventual release of the second part of this amazing group.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Liar
2. Hate
3. Love Pt. 1
4. Reflection
5. Transition
6. Pain
7. Mislead
8. Anger
9. Dreaming
Lineup:
Andy Abrantes – Vocals, Piano
Patrice Diasio – Bass
Alexandre Klein – Drums, Percussion
Kevin Roy – Guitar
Record Label: M&O Music
     


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Edited 06 April 2020
 

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