Hope Conspiracy Coldblue

From the ashes of the criminally underrated Harvest arises the Hope Conspiracy's Coldblue, one of the most anticipated releases in the hardcore/metal underground this year. While Harvest were content to till the same soil that Bloodlet had fertilised - slow, brooding and rife with metallic dissonance - the Hope Conspiracy are of a different ilk. Equally as metallic but based more in hardcore's structure and riffing, the Hope Conspiracy is instantly reminiscent of label-mates Bane, minus the gang vocal throw-downs and old-school nostalgia. But the Hope Conspiracy incorporates more modern characteristic with their brand of metallic hardcore, which helps establish Coldblue from a legion of other metallic hardcore releases. Of course, the up-tempo hardcore-inflected riffs are present, as are the prerequisite breakdowns, thrash inspired metallic segments and tortured spoken/screamed vocals, but the Hope Conspiracy does manage a somewhat fresh take on it - the enthusiasm is tangible, the execution is flawless and the lyrics of singer Kevin Baker are more poetic than preaching. "Fragile," "Truth and Purpose" and "You've Been Warned" are all prime examples of the Hope Conspiracy's abilities and should garner them legions of fans. Still, while the competency and emotion are present, there's little that challenges already established hardcore/metal doctrine. Given the build-up, anything less than groundbreaking is somewhat disappointing. Still, sometimes you have to call a spade a spade - the Hope Conspiracy are an incredible good, if unadventurous hardcore band. (Equal Vision)