ALBUM REVIEW: COPE – The Shock Doctrine

Release Date: May 22nd 2020
Label: COPE Music


Steeped in bellowing vocals and crushing riffs, London’s COPE are taking aim at multiple social injustices with ‘The Shock Doctrine’. Taking a streamlined approach with their debut full-length, the quintet delve into hardcore unapologetically to deliver a call-to-arms.

Kicking off with furious lead single, ‘Life In 3D’ delivers chunky guitars and roared vocals in equal measure. Slipping between Tom Walker‘s growl in the verses and the multi-layered vocal assault of the track’s chorus, COPE dive headfirst into hardcore’s play book at a fevered pace.

After the lightning pace of its predecessor, ‘I’m Alright Jack’ continues to push the tempo, leaning into post-hardcore. Whilst the vocal variation displayed in the chorus is a nice touch, the track belongs to guitarists Josh Bowles and Jay Miller as they fly through jarring chords, chugging rhythms, and duelling melodies to avoid complacency.

After displaying their comfort in crunching hardcore, COPE branch out towards a more melodic side on ‘Gold’. Sat between thick slabs of distortion and impassioned gang vocals, weaving melodies work alongside grooves and deliver a refreshing twist on the classic breakdown.

As the record hits its midway point, the quintet continue to find new ways to navigate a genre that relies on innovation and conviction in equal measure. From the wide-eyed fury that permeates ‘Jailbird’ to the unnerving sonic texture that supports the direct message of ‘Territory Missing’, COPE continue to uncover new ways keep from stagnating.

After the grinding and double-kick driven ‘Damned If We Don’t’ unfurling a thrash influence, concluding track ‘Influenza’ takes a dynamic approach. Moving between clean vocals, dizzying lead melodies, and stamping drum beats, the track expands the group’s sound whilst cementing their foundations. Taking their soundscape further with a mid-tempo bridge and guitar solo, it pushes past the group’s parameters to cast a glimpse at where COPE could move towards in the future.

Impassioned, fast-paced, and not outstaying its welcome, ‘The Shock Doctrine’ is not only a strong debut record, but it also showcases COPE as a group that are willing to push their own boundaries. Whilst they could easily rely on the blueprint of their debut record, the shades of ambition that are woven throughout suggest that bigger things are destined.