ALBUM: Hopeless Heroic – Become The Monster

Release Date: June 25th, 2012
Label: Killawasp


Never before have the words, “Hey, you know what the music industry really needs? A punk rap funk epic metal band with violins thrown over the top” been uttered, and there’s probably good reason for that. However, here we are. Hopeless Heroic have boldly set out on the task of creating this fusion of genres and sounds, but I’m afraid they have sadly failed.

Things start out okay (note the word ‘okay’) with a slightly generic build-up, using a riff that could have been a Rage Against The Machine castoff, until things quickly take a turn for the worse. At the point where the build-up climaxes, a complete, well-rounded explosion of full-band riff bliss would have been much appreciated had it been any other band.But, here’s the problem: Hopeless Heroic‘s full line-up includes a violinist, and this isn’t me being ignorant of other types of music or disregarding any instruments that aren’t a part of your standard 4/5-piece, this is simply not enjoying having my ears offended and abused.

This infuriating violin dominates the sound, simply matching the guitars that have so far been quite listenable. This simply does not work. The violin isn’t used creatively to compliment the beefy riff or run underneath it to create atmosphere; it lazily copies it. Any musician will agree when I say, tone has to be considered when writing music, to the point where genres can be defined by what type of effects pedals are being used. A violin cannot and does not match the intensity of an overdriven guitar, therefore should not attempt to duplicate it. They simply don’t work together.

Now, it may seem that I’m dwelling on this point for an unreasonable amount of time, however, this can be used as a direct comparison as to why the rest of the record simply doesn’t work either. It’s a conglomeration, an amalgamation, and ultimately a clash of sounds that leaves you cringing and almost nervous just thinking about what else they could throw in the pot in an attempt to make the record sound ‘fresh’.

It bounces from metal riffs to corny, fake-American-accent rapping (which should be classed as a sin), to whiney singing, whilst that damned violin keeps cropping up throughout it all just to add to the annoyance of listening to this record, with all these elements detracting from one another.

It’s not to say something like this has never been done well before. Rage Against The Machine are an incredible band and arguably the figurehead for the rap metal funk scene. Apocalyptica made a strong attempt at incorporating strings into metal (though, some would say not so successfully). I’m all for genre crossover and fusion, but a line has to be drawn. I hope they can reign themselves in, direct their sound to something more contemporary and produce something listenable.

Heroic? Absolutely not. Hopeless? Maybe. I think it’s just a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Written by Jack Bastard

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