Ryan's Hope - Chaos (Cover Artwork)

Ryan's Hope

Chaos (2008)


Punknews Records alumnus Ryan's Hope released this five-song EP in early 2008, and then re-released it later that year with two additional songs as a free download from their website. Any fan of their past records or melodic skatepunk in general would be well-advised to give this release a whirl, because since their last full-length, 2006's Apocalypse in Increments, the band has progressed both musically and in their ability to hit the listener with a blast of catchy breakdowns and sing-along choruses before the listener even knows what the fuck they just heard. While some might define the band's sound as melodic hardcore, the riffs and bridges are too fast for the average hardcore band, and the genre could be more appropriately classified as tight, blistering speed-punk that ventures into hardcore territory with both the sneering vocals and the rocking guitar breakdowns.

The first song on the EP, "Madness Ensues" kicks off with classic punk rock speed and in-your-face vocals before dropping into the aforementioned breakdowns without a slow of pace, and also features a guitar solo that is as catchy as the chorus is refreshing. The second song, "We Will," barely gives the listener a chance to breathe before rocketing into a similarly structured song and is over before you know it. "Choose Blasphemy," the third song features strong bass work and breakdowns coupled with even stronger vocals, culminating in the track's final moments where the three-piece comes together to produce the hardest rocking moment of the album as lead singer Terry Morrow screams "Just what have we come to be? Choose tyranny or choose blasphemy. No one is safe among us, can you disagree?" over a complementing and technical guitar lead. The fourth song, "Bloodline" follows the previous four in style but has a more punk feel and almost a country-jingle-on-meth-amphetamine vibe at times in the guitar work. The band takes it easy for the last original song, "Bastard Epidemic," sticking to the formula set by the earlier tracks and capping off the original five songs nicely.

The two bonus songs, while good, feel tacked on and probably could have been left off the re-release. Song six, "Snakes on a Plane" is catchy, but loses its novelty after the fourth or fifth listen, just like how one wouldn't want to watch the movie it's named after multiple times in a row. The final song is a Misfits' cover, "I Turned into a Martian," where the band displays their ability to emulate the Misfits' ultra catchiness with "ohhhh"s and "whoooaaa"s. While the extra songs aren't bad at all, they take away from the tight package that was the original release. Either way, it's two more songs that are fun to listen to, so I won't complain.

Based on recent blog postings by the band, they are currently at work on a new record, reportedly to be released later this year, also to be preceded and followed by an accompanying tour. This EP might be their best work yet, and it also shows that the band has continued to improve. If the trend continues, the new record is something for fans to be excited about.