I remember that one of the first reviews I wrote was the incredibly crappy one I did on Hopesfall's last album, which I still consider a gem of metalcore. With that said, whether or not my reviews have gotten better over time is up to people's opinion, and that is exactly how Hopesfall new album A-Types works out.
This album is pretty much going to make new fans and completely alienate their old ones...or at least, that's my prediction. The boys of Hopesfall have evolved, or devolved, depending on which way you look at their new melodically-heavy-to-points-of-insanity new effort. The album is full of slow-paced, very polished sounding, emotion-filled tunes, that although preformed well, lose their punch as they continue their sluggish pace for forty-plus minutes.
A-Types opens with the methodically slow "It Happens." There isn't a whole lot of screaming nor headbanging, no heavy guitars, no double-bass, no sing-along gang vocals, and basically no trace of hardcore elements whatsoever on this track. The song resembles the album as a whole for the most part, as the boys of Hopesfall have taken a much more melodic turn than their previous efforts. With that said, the song really isn't that bad. The guitar work is nicely done and you can, every now and then, hear a little metal-tinged guitar hook throughout. However, at over four minutes, it suffers from exactly what the new album suffers from. Maybe I feel this is a letdown because years of listening to Shai Hulud, where their guitar hooks lead into more guitar hooks, and Kid Dynamite, where a forty second song is almost too long, I have forgotten how to sit back and enjoy what is happening. But on "It Happens," nothing really is happening, and when any flashes of brilliance come out, Hopesfall goes back into the repetitive droning that is the whole song.
But not all hope is lost, a couple of songs like "Matchmaker's Heaven" perked my interest which at least manages to pack an energetic punch and give a slight nod to the hardcore roots that the band had in previous releases. With the dual metal-influenced riffs combined with a soft croon, the song managed to keep me listening for the most part. "Start and Pause" is yet another example of this energy that seems to be lacking from most of the album.
Once again, I am a big fan of Hopesfall's previous releases, and I was highly anticipating this one. The band has evolved; I just don't really care for what they evolved into. They sound just as tight as ever, but A-Types plods along so slowly without much variation that it passes by in an unimaginative blur. Still, it is far from being terrible. It's just rather uninspiring.