A Hope For Home is an experimental, post-hardcore sextet from Portland, Oregon. They stray from the typical hardcore bands that Facedown Records has been known for such as: Seventh Star, Figure Four, and Comeback Kid, but they hold their own. They bring a little bit of everything to the table with their newest release, Realis, including hardcore screams, metal guitars, and even some synthesizers mixed with ambient sounds.
The story of Realis is a good one. The first half of the album is dark and written from the point of view of a Nihilist: The world has no meaning/There is no God. The second half of the album is a story of hope as man emerges into the light. The song "Post Tenebras Lux," translated "Life After Darkness," is the beginning of that change as the final words are screamed, "We've buried the flame, but I contend to dig it up again." "No Light," is the darkest, most abysmal, song on the album; it is also the highlight. The piano that leads the intro as well as the light guitar strums and the ambient background noise are a great start. The vocals start about 2:15 into the song, sounding as if ripped straight from a dreamscape, with the bleak lyrics, "There's no way out of this, no light, no hope…" The track clearly signals the lowest point of the story. "After," ends the album as a song that's lyrics brings certainty and reason, "In time we will understand this is not the end to all that will be."
Where Realis lacks the most is in the extremely long intro and outro sections throughout the entire album. You begin to feel as if at least half of the nearly 52 minute record is instrumental. The band has musical talent, but the overwhelmingly long instrumental segments make the album drag and take away from the story they wanted to tell. As an example: "Nightfall," "No Light," and "The First Light of Dawn" all have intros eclipsing the two minute mark, while "Ascension" features a four plus minute outro.
While musically solid, there is nothing new here. The album screams, quite literally, of bands like Underoath and Thrice. When "The Machine Stops" began playing, it seemed that someone had switched the record to an Emery album. This is not to say anything bad about the band, but there are no questions as to where the they draw their musical influence.
Overall, Realis is a solid outing. You are not really going to find anything new musically here, but you will get solid lyrical content that is clearly spiritual in nature. The album is one of hope, but gives no notion that things will be fine all of the time. If you are a fan of the hardcore, emocore, or post-hardcore scenes these guys just might be for you. Fans can also look for them at the 2010 Cornerstone Festival.
- Review date: 4/12/10, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com