Heart of a Coward – Hope and Hindrance (2012)

Hope and Hindrance is an album which has been a long time in the making. The UK metalcore band formed in 2009 and up until now had only one EP to their name. Since then, they’ve undergone a number of lineup changes, the most notable of which saw the former Sylosis frontman Jamie Graham take over vocal duties. The long wait had built up expectations and thankfully the album does not disappoint. The opening track “Killing Fields” is perhaps the perfect introduction to the band. Groovy djent guitarwork reminiscent of Volumes forms the backbone of their sound and it’s complimented by beastly vocals. Manly clean singing features towards the end of the track but it’s not used too much over the course of the album and when it is, it gives them another dynamic. Second track “All Eyes Forward” is a little slower in pace and owes a lot to the band’s fellow countrymen Tesseract with ambient metallic sounding guitars overlapping some severe djent. This kind of mimicry is evident throughout Hope and Hindrance but you get the feeling that they’re refining the sounds of other bands rather than simply plagiarising them. A few of the tracks on the album had been floating around for a while prior to the release: a re-recording of “Around A Girl (In 80 Days)” which has benefited from some cleaner production, “Shade” which stretches an exceptionally groovy After the Burial-esque riff to its absolute limits, and “Nightmare”, a genuine tour de force. The remainder of the album offers a number of surprises and showcases the versatility of the band. They mix heaviness and melody with ease and manage to fit something memorable into every track. The album finishes with a pointlessly long breakdown but even this isn’t enough to sour the experience. There are two interludes but they are wisely used to break the album up and give the listener some time to recover between tracks. Hope and Hindrance is an excellent debut album from Heart of a Coward and proves that the UK metalcore scene is alive and well. It loses some of its oomph through repeated listens but there’s enough going on to merit going back to it and a few tracks you’ll be spinning for a long time.
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By George ~ Me Gusta Reviews