For Fans Of
I used to love Hopesfall. I’m
talking straight up hero worship here. Their mix of abrasive, screamed
vocals and ambient guitar parts was intelligent without being pretentious
– aggressive without being un-listenable. Unfortunately the wheels
have well and truly fallen off because Hopesfall in the year 2007 sounds
like a cheap knock off of other scene luminaries rather than their own
That’s not say there isn’t
anything to like about Magnetic North. There are some great riffs and
most of the songs have some excellent parts but unfortunately there
isn’t anything on this record that can hold a candle to songs like
“Open Hands To The Wind” or “Only The Clouds”. Many of the tracks
on Magnetic North feel slapped together rather than cohesive songs.
At the end of the day, even Hopesfall’s
most average songs are better than most of the crap being churned out
by other bands, but I’ve come to expect so much from them that anything
less than perfection feels like a disappointment.
Opening track “RX Contender
The Pretender” is one of the strongest tracks on the album – it’s
just unfortunate that it sounds EXACTLY like White Pony era Deftones.
On the plus side, the riffing is better than anything Hopesfall had
If you haven’t heard Magnetic
North you may scoff at the comparison, but “Swamp Kittens” sounds
a hell of a lot like our own Horsell Common. Now, I’m in no way suggesting
that Hopesfall are mimicking HC, but it’s just another example of
how a lot of the material on Magnetic North has already been done by
“Second Hand Surgery” is easily
the strongest track on the record. It flows from start to finish unlike
the rest of the record and Jay’s vocals compliment the guitar work
perfectly. “The Canon” is another great track but again, it sounds
note for note like the Deftones.
One thing which stood out about
Magnetic North is Jay Forrest’s vocal performance – and not in a
good way. On at least half the songs his voice sounds strained, like
he’s unable to hit the notes he wanted to so he’s settled for something
else. Unfortunately, that something else ends up sounding a little off.
Jay fired (or parted ways with, depends on who’s story you believe)
the other 4 members of Hopesfall which surely signals the end of this
once great band. I think once a group reaches the point that they don’t
have any original members and sounds nothing like their former selves
then it’s time for a name change.
As I mentioned earlier, there
is still a lot to like about Magnetic North, but if you’re expecting
epic, ambient rock then you’d better look somewhere else. If on the
other hand, you can’t wait for the Deftones to release another album
then give Magnetic North a go.
- RX Contender The Pretender
- Swamp Kittens
- Cubic Zirconia’s
- I Can Do This On An
- Secondhand Surgery
- Magnetic No