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Hope Beyond Suffering
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Hope Beyond Suffering
Hope Against Suffering

Street Date: March 19, 2024
Style: Symphonic Metal / Progressive Metal
Official Site: Facebook.com/hopebeyondsuffering
Buy It: Apple Music




When Drew and Savannah Brammell debuted their new project Hope Beyond Suffering in 2020, there was no lack of talent, but there was a major lack of identity. The duo's sound and style were all over the place, which was quickly remedied for their 2022 EP, Forevermore, which focused heavily on symphonic metal. That brings us to 2024 and the duo's sophomore full-length record, Hope Against Suffering, which further displays their growth as musicians and performers. The album is fully entrenched in the symphonic metal of the previous EP, which really seems to be the Brammells' bread and butter. There are some bits that sound a little underproduced, both in the music and in some of the vocal production, where some of the clean vocals sound sort of flat and some of the screams are mildly unpleasant. But otherwise, it's great to hear that the band has hit their stride and has found the style that works best for them. The songs are all quite lengthy, but they're all filled with tight musicianship, interesting harmonies and melodies, and a great deal of solid storytelling. Indeed, Hope Against Suffering is a fully fleshed out concept album, which tells the story of an angel named Hope (voiced by Savannah) who finds herself in the midst of a cosmic battle against a demon named Suffering (voiced by Drew). In "An Overture of Hope / Heaven's Warm Embrace," Hope feels a call to go to humanity and shine the light of Christ in the darkness, but she meets Suffering, who is helping the people of Earth to live out their innermost desires, all the while breaking their spirits and causing them to become desperate for more until they serve him ("Just one more drink, just one more breath / one more release from the sweet taste of death / just one more click, just one more look / just one more peek and you know you'll be hooked / just one more touch, who knows where it will go / you'll just thank me later when you're broken and alone / just one more chance, a roll of the dice / your luck will run out and surprise - you will be mine!"). Of course, the task of spreading the good news of Christ belongs to us and not angels, but the story doesn't really dip into any sort of heretical teaching by any means, and the relatively short story is well-written, obviously culminating in good triumphing over evil. My biggest complaint is that the narration, as well as Suffering's devious, snakeoil salesman persona (almost like an exaggerated Honest John from Pinocchio), feel a little cheesy and often dampen the otherwise enjoyable experience. But the story is effective in that it's often more engaging than anything else, pulling the listener in with a relatable lead character and a soundtrack that complements each new scene very well. Those who love all things symphonic metal, or who enjoy concept albums and narratives in their music, will likely have a great time with Hope Against Suffering.

- Review date: 3/27/24, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com



(JFH Sponsor Spot)

Listen to the debut EP from the band Hopeful.!

 

 

. Record Label: None
. Album length: 8 tracks: 56 minutes, 21 seconds
. Street Date: March 19, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music

  1. An Overture of Hope / Heaven's Warm Embrace (7:10)
  2. In the Midst of Suffering / Tightening the Grip (7:59)
  3. The Divine Struggle / Hope Against Suffering (7:43)
  4. Intermission: Wings of Lament (2:06)
  5. Soul Searcher / A Celestial Melody (6:51)
  6. A World of Suffering / Laid to Waste (8:24)
  7. Battle for Humanity / The Final Volition (9:10)
  8. Conclusion: Of Angels and Demons (6:55)

 


 



  • Jesus Freak Hideout (Scott Fryberger): A concept album is always a massive undertaking for an artist. What inspired you to write a full narrative for this album?

    Drew Brammell: Ever since we finished our first album in 2020 the ideas were already in my head to create an album that was a dialogue between an angel and a demon, named Hope and Suffering. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it at the time but I knew I wanted it to be an epic and have distinct musical styles from both characters. I spent years sitting on the idea and threw tons of different ideas back and forth before finding the one I liked best. However, the majority of the album actually came together after a family tragedy last year. Vannah's cousin had been diagnosed with brain cancer and the realization of her condition compared to what she had already gone through triggered the entire writing process for me. The album carries a very melancholy sound throughout due to the ongoing emotional state I was in through this difficult time. Also, the heavy-hearted nature of some of Hope's side of things can be attributed to the fact that I see our culture constantly at odds with each other. Throughout the writing process we realized this was going to be a weighty topic so we aimed to take this album very seriously.

  • JFH (Scott): How did the process of writing, collaborating, and recording compare to the last two Hope Beyond Suffering releases?

    Drew: As for the writing, this one definitely took more time because it was such a complex idea for us. We had to strike a balance between heavy metal and a rock opera, knowing that it needed to act just as much like a play as it did an album. This is when we realized we needed a narrator. The most difficult part was keeping the focus of the entire album on this one concept of bringing light to a dying world without introducing unnecessary plot points. This is why Hope starts her journey with a naive sense of confidence and then after coming face to face with her rival, Suffering, she realizes she can't undertake this task on her own. We realized we needed more characters to convey the story we wanted to tell. Thankfully we are surrounded by highly talented and willing artists and musicians that were thrilled to be a part of the experience. As for the recording, it was a fairly smooth process. I actually spent months listening to a rough version of the album with no vocals just to make sure everything fit together nicely before the real work began.

  • JFH (Scott): Do you have the desire to make more conceptual music with future albums?

    Drew: I have enjoyed the challenge of a concept album and would do it again if a story presents itself. However, since this was such a large undertaking, I am considering doing smaller projects for a while. I already have a few projects I am working on for other artists and am excited to work alongside others in this manner for now.

  • JFH (Scott): The shift to pure symphonic metal from the eclectic nature of your debut has seemed to be of huge benefit to your overall production. What led to this stylistic shift, and can listeners expect more of this going forward?

    Drew: Initially, we designed our debut album to cover a wide range of topics using multiple genres because we wanted each song to be its own thing. Over time, however, we realized we didn't want to continue this arbitrary style, so we started writing new material with a more centralized focus. This is when we decided to release the The Forevermore EP. That album was a test demo of sorts on how we would approach our sound going forward. Not only that but my previous work on Behold the Dawn cast a shadow on how I approached the character of Suffering and the music that followed him. The rest of the music was completely inspired by some of my favorite composers like Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and James Horner.

  • JFH (Scott): The album focuses on God's goodness ultimately overcoming Satan and bringing light into a world desperate for redemption. Was there anything specific on top of this that you were wanting to convey to the listener?

    Drew: Yes, the entire album challenges the listener to consider which voice they are listening to, like a modern day equivalent of the "demon on your left, angel on your right" trope. Both characters beckon their audience to pay attention, to hear their voice, and to listen to their words. As we mentioned, the album doesn't shy away from historically significant and culturally consequential topics that have seemed to plague humanity from the dawn of time. Both characters are essentially in a tug of war struggle to maintain influence although their motives may be different. Hope's motives are authentic and life-giving. She wants people to know the Lord and see his goodness, whereas Suffering is only in it to selfishly oppress and control humanity.

  • JFH (Scott): Do you have any plans to adapt the album into a live concert setting, or will this remain strictly audio only?

    Drew: We would absolutely love to bring this experience to the stage one day but since this album was created on a tight budget, the demand would really have to be there for us to take that next step. For now we just hope our listeners can enjoy what we've created for them.

  • JFH (Scott): Just for fun, if you could go on tour and take any three bands with you (from any era), who would you choose and why?

    Drew: That's a great question! My all time favorite band Extol would be top of the list for me, and I'd also have to go with bands that have been highly inspiring for me, Nightwish and August Burns Red. I think that would make a great lineup for fans of heavy metal. Vannah's style is quite a bit different than mine as she steers toward British rock bands. From Vannah: it would be a dream come true for me to tour with people such as Elton John, Coldplay or The Beatles. Those are the key bands that have encouraged me to continually grow into the best singer, pianist and all around performer that I can be. It seems like my journey has been a long one, full of detours and roadblocks, but I am always discovering new ways to learn and grow as a musician and a human in general. I appreciate being able to read about the journey each of these musicians have been on because it makes me realize we are all in this together. Witnessing their stories, incredible talent and hard work gives me the motivation to never give up on my dream of being able to connect with people through music.

  • JFH (Scott): Where can listeners connect with you online / on social media?

    Drew: We can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, just search Hope Beyond Suffering. I would say Facebook is our most reliable method of communication should anyone like to reach out to us.

  • JFH (Scott): Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?

    Drew: This album could not have been possible without the love, support, and feedback we received over the last couple years from our listeners. With each new project we aim to be better than we were before, and we are excited to see what we can do with ever growing assets, talents and collaborations that come our way. We thank God for the opportunities He has given us and hope that we utilize our time and talents for His glory.

     

     

     

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