You have to admire a band that puts in 110%. Hello Hopeless, a trio of punk rock upstarts from Kitchener Ontario, have spared no expense making their new EP sound perfect. It’s verges close to punk metal if you asked me, but let’s not split hairs. Whatever you want to call it, the production is surprisingly deep with loads of variety and small details.
It’s easy to compare Hello Hopeless to modern punk greats like Blink, but there’s more to it. Opening instrumental “Dark Pasts, Brighter Futures” works things up with a Priest-like beginning (think “Electric Eye” going into “Screaming For Vengeance”). The tension seeths into the next and best track, “Victim, Victim”. Busy drums and a chunky riff back up a great, punchy song. Garrett Thomson (vocals, bass) seemingly plumbs the depths of his soul when singing, but the simple, hammering riffs are what keep you coming back. The drums (by Will Bender) are fast n’ busy, just like you want it. Blasting on, “Save Myself” (guitar solo!) and “Inertia” continue in this direction. “Inertia” is particular is a varied trip, and well worth it. The dark lyrics are quite good, but the production just smokes.
An unexpected acoustic ballad called “Broke” boasts a raw, emotional vocal and excellent melodies. It’s a good break in the action, because it’s pedal down from here out. Thomson and guitarist Nathan Heald share lead vocals on “The Match”, and again I’m hearing a hint of Judas Priest (the opening to “Hellrider” specifically). Catchy vocals paired with a groovy bassline, plus a guitar solo, riffs n’ drums…what more do you need? The closing track “Hurricane” also features shared vocals, and goes out on a suitably powerful note. There’s even piano for a touch of the dramatic. Once again, I hear a lil’ bit of metal. Savatage this time. What a way to end it.
I may be a little biased since these guys are from my home town, so let’s get that out there. I truly think Dark Pasts, Brighter Futures is one of the better releases of 2018. You’d do well to check it out. So go ahead and do it, it’s on Spotify! For those who demand a physical product, the CD is out November 30.
Check out Hello Hopeless at the Boathouse in Kitchener on November 30 to get your CD.