For fans of modern day metal—If Hope Dies is for you. The five-piece from upstate New York display all the usual trappings on their third release Life In Ruin.
Like others in the hardcore based metal movement (God Forbid, As I Lay Dying) that have borrowed from the template of melodic Swedish Death Metal greats In Flames and At The Gates, IFD is more of the same. It’s all there: short concise songs, melodic metal styled riffing, a ripping-tight rhythm section, aggressive vocals, and grim, socially aware lyrics.
Clearly IFD is an inspired band with its passionate delivery that shows a sense of urgency. Songs like “Burned Out” and “Time Is Not On Our Side” display the bludgeoning affect IFD’s music has on the listener. Guitarists Thad Jackson and Brian Ward’s extremely tight thrash inspired guitar lines blend nicely with Alan French’s guttural vocal delivery and Brandon Wakeham and Gary Mann’s precise bass and drum combo.
Other high points include “Anthem For The Unemployable” that shows IFD’s affinity for melodic guitar riffs and “Dead Reckoning” that presents the aggressiveness needed to keep fans of death metal happy.
IFD does have its limitations though. During the duration of Life In Ruin the songs begin to meld together due to the lack of differentiation and the vocals are limited with style variation needed to maintain an interest throughout. But with these limitations aside, Life In Ruin contains more positive moments than negatives.
The best thing about modern day metal, with If Hope Dies included, is that they’ve managed to destroy the nu-metal crap that we have had to suffer through in the late 90s and early 2000s. That alone makes this release and others like it worthy of attention.