Every time I come across an Australian metalcore band, I already have high expectations because some of my favourite bands hail from Down Under, and it seems like every 'core' band from there – no matter the genre, actually – is doing something interesting or new to gain my attention. The latest band to do so is Hope in Hand (who was given a shoutout by labelmates Signal the Firing Squad, might I add, which intrigued me to check out the new single titled "An Endless Empire"). This six-piece group from Queensland is set to release their debut full length via RTD Records on September 6.
On In Light | In Shade, Hope in Hand utilizes both vocalists frequently. About half of the album is cleanly sung, while the majority of the remainder of the album features screams in a mid-to-high register. Occasionally, you will hear bone-crushing lows, but I wish they'd be implemented more often because they sound fantastic. As a whole, the vocals reminded me of Adrian Fitipaldes (Northlane) – especially the higher-pitched screams.
Circling back to the cleans, the singing on tracks like "Brotherhood" and "Setting Suns" works extremely well with what the band is doing; however, on one track in particular – "Steadfast" – some of the cleans don't jive as well with the instruments and other vocals heard in the song. Furthermore, the effect used near the middle of the track (cutting in and out of a note that is held for about 10 seconds) brings "Steadfast" down a peg.
Instrumental-wise, I was very impressed with what Hope in Hand did on In Light | In Shade. There are multiple groove sections coupled with ambience, several fast riffing verses, a few excellent solos and some colossal breakdowns, too. The drumming is very upbeat and technical, and it even steals the show on a few tracks near the middle of the album. Additionally, the symphonic and electronic bits heard throughout the album are executed with perfection, which adds another dimension to an already multidimensional sound.
Aside from the minor clean-vocal misstep and lame effect used on "Steadfast," the only other flaw with Hope in Hand's debut release is the fact that some of the songs are lacking a 'wow' factor. With that being said, even the weaker tracks on In Light | In Shade are very solid, and the standout tracks – "Rasengan," "Aurora," "In the Company of Wolves" and "In Light | In Shade (feat. Ray Vavie of The Sweet Apes)" – are top-notch metalcore songs that any fan of the genre will love. This is an incredible and nearly perfect start for a band with a very bright future; In Light | In Shade will definitely drag Hope in Hand out from the shade and into the light – where everyone can see and hear them.
For Fans Of: Northlane, Saviour, Hands Like Houses