Dance music and metal used to be two worlds that couldn’t be further apart. In the early 00s though, certain bands, for whatever reason, decided to step outside of ‘the norm’ and bring these two worlds together. In this experimentation, they just might’ve discovered that these two things weren’t so different after all. Present day things have changed and so much time has now elapsed since we first heard a synthesiser put to a breakdown that it’s not even considered experimentation anymore. It’s just a genre in its own right.
Whatever it’s called, I’m not really sure, but I think it probably still comes under the all-encompassing umbrella of metal. What is evident though is that Italy’s Hopes Die Last are one band that are definitely at the forefront of this genre and with their latest EP ‘Wolfpack’, they’re taking it to levels that traditional metal heads wouldn’t have even dreamed of all those years ago.
The EP does begin a little bit clichéd with ‘Dead Heart Beats’; a purely electronic intro track that predictably flat lines and segues into the second track, ‘Hellbound’. The intro does heighten the second track somewhat and will no doubt provide an anticipation inducing introduction to the band’s live show, but with only seven tracks on the EP already it seems a little bit like filler.
With that said though, when the introduction has been made and the EP kicks in with all its electronic metal fury, it’s hard to pick any other faults. From when it first drops, it’s just hard to deny the sheer craft of HDL‘s song writing. It’s the alluring vocals at the start of ‘Promises’ that completely draw you in and the body rocking verses in the EP’s title-track that just have you completely enthralled. As the EP continues, it’s like you’re being reeled in, like HDL know they’ve got you hooked from the start and that all they need to do is cement this further with tracks like ‘Cheaters Must Die’ and ‘Here Comes Nero’.
It’s also good to see that one of these bands that adds all this extra production value and electronic elements to their sound actually has a fucking synth player/programmer. It’s all well and good overdubbing your arse off in the studio, but if you have to play purely to a backing track you might as well hold hands with Britney Spears and mime. HDL might still have to play to a click when ‘Wolfpack’ hits the road, but at least it’s going to be live.
In essence, ‘Wolpack’ is an EP filled with dancefloor fillers. I appreciate this isn’t normally a phrase associated with a metal album, but listen to it and you’ll understand completely. It’s neither metal nor dance music, it’s both simultaneously that’s why it works. It might rely a little heavily at times on what others are doing, but it’s doing them so much better that it doesn’t really matter.
Written by Shaun Cole