Written by: PP on 11/10/2018 23:29:41

It's a rare occurrence that reunion albums are much good. It's even rarer reunion albums approach the pinnacle of a band's career. It's virtually unheard of to release a reunion album that qualifies as an album-of-the-year contender and as your indisputably best album, especially through a career as decorated as the one by post-hardcore pioneers Hopesfall. Their final album "Magnetic North" was an underappreciated gem eleven years ago, whilst the band is best known for their screamo-laden 2002 record "The Satellite Years", which is today considered one of the essential albums within post-hardcore. But on reunion album "Arbiter", the band enter an entirely new realm of songwriting depth and quality of song in what is one of the most spectacular returns by any bands on this side of the millennium.

"Arbiter" is simply an amazing album that revitalizes every corner of the Hopesfall soundscape from their screamo origins to their later years, where dreamy atmospherics Deftones/Glassjaw style took over. It's an expression that finally brings together the different soundscapes of the band by joining the chaotic screamo expression with the sublime structure and depth-laden tranquillity of their "Magnetic North"-era. The resulting soundscape is one of dreamy, contemplative melodies, but simultaneously one that's simply a brilliant utilization of the classic quiet/loud dynamics that post-hardcore foundations were laid upon. While "Drowning Potential" is arguably the song where these two elements meet each other in a giant head-on collision of atmosphere vs. throaty screaming, it is on "Bradley Fighting Vehicle" where the most vividly hair-raising moments are to be found.

Here, the band displays their incredible diversity through a screamy beginning that smoothly transitions into a Deftones-esque stadium-size expansive soundscape, where dreamy croons lead the way to a back-chilling, almost philosophical, existential question of "is there something out there? / Is there someplace? / Is there somewhere? / We've been told, past Neptune / The insight in your days ahead / That there's something up there / Something out there, up there, somewhere". It's a moment of true brilliance where the band's spacey expression bridges together with the lyrical universe for a brief moment that comes to define this album. And that's only the beginning. The likes of "Tunguska", "H.A. Wallace Space Academy", or the six-minute mammoth "Indignation And The Rise Of The Arbiter" each offer the kind of melodies to die for, the kind of melodies that most bands only dream of writing once throughout their career, and here is Hopesfall banging them out song after song in effortless fashion. "In Bloom", likewise, is full of grand, uplifting melodies, which sound even bigger as they are contrasted by quintessential early-2000s style screamo and lo-fi scratches within the production.

It is this transition and constant switchback between crunchy guitars and expansive soundscapes, between screamo and soothing cleans, between dreamy segments and heavy layers of distorted guitar, that makes "Arbiter" such a brilliant record. It is one of the most depth-laden records this year, one which translates the band's pure sense of wonder into an inspirational, uplifting soundscape that above all, transcends genres, different eras, and fan-bases in its brilliance. But don't expect it to open up on first listen: this is a grower that will reward a patient listener with months upon months of "can't believe this record is still getting better on every listen" moments. The album-of-the-year benchmark is now set, any contenders may report in swiftly.


Download: Bradley Fighting Vehicle, In Bloom, Faint Object Camera, C.S. Lucky-One, Tunguska, H.A. Wallace Space Academy, Indignation And The Rise Of The Arbiter
For the fans of: Glassjaw, Deftones, Cave In, Planes Mistaken For Stars,
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.07.2018
Equal Vision Records

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