You know, I write these reviews just because I like supporting the local scene and because I enjoy writing down my thoughts in order to maybe get one person interested in the band I chose. Obviously, I am well aware that my reach isn’t huge and not many people in general read reviews anymore, with streaming being the norm…but every now and then I write one and I feel like the band has actually taken the critique seriously and improved in that domain, and, dare I say, I feel like today is one such example! Of course, I could just be talking out of my ass, which wouldn’t be a first, but the new Blanket Hill album fixed the one thing I disliked about its predecessor and improves on so many other levels. Continue reading if you want to get my impressions of The Courage Of Hopelessness!
I should preface this by mentioning that while the quintet remains true to its hardcore roots, there has been a line-up change in the guitar and drum department, which can definitely be felt. Since Scott and Miguel from Fusion Bomb bring a much more thrash-orientated sound to the table, which, at least for my own personal taste, makes this even more enjoyable. There are quite a few guitar parts that just catch your attention the first time you hear them and then take you on a headbanging ride.
Of course riffs aren’t the only thing you need, but don’t worry: the songwriting is also there to back them up. On my first listen there were quite a few surprises and even a few moments where I don’t exactly understand what the band was going for, but I also appreciate the diversity at the same time. The best example is the interlude Abu No Hana which is a two minute and a half drum and bass track without any vocals and no real connection to the other eleven songs. I don’t think the final product would have suffered without it, but I can safely say that I’ve never seen a hardcore album with something similar…so, unironically, kudos for innovation.
The other creative leap is a hardcore duet, dare I say ballad…which almost sounded perverse when I first heard about it, but the result is a wonderfully fresh song that features the powerful pipes of Parity‘s Sandra and also showcases the major improvement: the lead vocals! While I found them a bit too dull and monotonous previously, there is such a wide variety now that it’s almost hard to imagine it’s the same person. While there still is the Sprechgesang, it is now complimented by much more melodic singing and a much more dynamic speech cadence.
Also noteworthy is the pretty incredible production value of these forty-four minutes, where every note is crisp and even the bass is audible.
To sum things up, The Courage Of Hopelessness is a very strong sophomore record and I am already looking forward to what the future holds for Blanket Hill. But please, don’t let it be another video of the band lip-syncing in public places…much love, you guys. The album is being released this Friday, October 21st, at Schungfabrik where the band is hosting a release show, so head over to their Facebook page to get more info on that and make sure to list to the song below.