Australia’s Hope Drone sets itself apart from the numerous atmospheric black metal acts, maintaining a tight grip on the throat of the listener. This is not your everyday black metal band as there’s something that this death/black/doom/ambient hybrid that unsettles the quiet part of your soul and crushes it gently under a tidal wave of melancholy and despair. Hope Drone’s self-titled affair is a magnificent display of ritualistic almost Cascadian-like wanderings through the realm of Australian black metal, and it’s one you should definitely hear. It’s to be expected that this specific self-titled release will drone your socks off, after all it’s all in the name. However, Hope Drone do manage to pull off the droning aspect of their music quite well. Set aside the predictable Ash Borer reference, Hope Drone is an entity unto itself. This four track affair swirls, slams, ebbs and flows and despite the almost monolithic sound and the length of the band’s tracks this album is over before you want it to be.
Although Hope Drone may be far from unique in today’s modern setting there is something to be said about this hypnotic four-piece. The album is started with an atmosphere inducing wall of guitar feedback and distortion found on ‘Advent’ before being drawn into the ritualistic percussive patterns that ebb into the rest of the record. For Hope Drone, it’s an excellent way to start an album. It shows that this Brisbane act know exactly what they are doing. The group has taken old and mixed it with new, conventional with something un-conventional and the end result is truly their own take on extreme metal. Take heed to the pummeling riff and drum lines that create similarities with fellow Australians, Portal whose sonic assault has made legend out of the Australian extreme metal scene. In fact, a touring schedule with those two bands would not be out of place. Hope Drone has a distinguishable murky sound to compliment a resonating raw guitar sound. It’s not raw out of a tin can, but has its own clarity that says “I’m not exactly a million dollar production”.
Overall, Hope Drone’s self-titled record is an impressive debut. The album’s four tracks are easy highlights of the genre and the song lengths are far from an issue. Despite an already rapidly growing scene, Hope Drone manages to pull of their distinct brand of black metal by paying homage to the influences that surround them. ‘Finite’ the album’s second track plays an integral role in holding the self-titled together. Apart from being the longest track on the record (by almost double) it also presents the most technically verbose arrangement of the band’s collective talents. It seems the wealth of Australian based metal is far from at an end, not the Parkway Drive toting nation Aussies are perceived as. Take a moment to delve further into the metal scene from ‘Down Under’ and chances are you’ll find more gems worth the time. Hope Drone is but one example of an Australian act willing to make the un-conventional a reality. Their self-titled debut is a showcase of four musicians destined for a prosperous career, proving that they can live up to their awesome band name.
1. Advent 05:31
2. Finite 11:44
3. Grains 08:45
4. Ash 08:51
http://hopedrone.bandcamp.com/ (name your price download)