The Hopewell Furnace - 1877
There's no doubt that the internet is filled with tons upon tons of metal; social media is literally packed with links to Youtube videos, Bandcamp sites and Soundcloud profiles. It's a lot to sift through sometimes, and you're always hoping that if you click on a dozen or so links in a day that you'll find something that stands out among the rest and really blows you away. And that is exactly what happened when I stumbled upon THE HOPEWELL FURNACE, and getting my hands on their new ep "1877" instantly became a mission of mine. The album released on June 30th, and is one fine-tuned example of pure, brutal death fucking metal. The Hopewell Furnace are a four piece outfit from the coal mine region Pennsylvania and 1877 tells the story of June 21st, 1877 when ten Irish immigrant men alleged to have been members of an oath-bound secret sect of vigilantes called the Molly Maguires were hanged in what came to be known as "The Day of the Rope." The Molly Maguires were accused of murder, arson, kidnapping and other crimes and were executed (hence the burlap sack imagery portrayed in the album artwork). Equipped with an incredible and dark story, The Hopewell Furnace managed to piece together a truly delicious devastating blend of technicality and deathcore goodness. From writing to production to brutality, 1877 more than delivers on all fronts.
The ep consists of four mind-melting tracks of death metal; five if you include the sick fucking intro which consists of the albums first dirty breakdown. It leads directly into "Guillain Barre" which jumps right into the action without hesitation; from blast beats to insane riffs, the instrumentals on this ep are of epic proportions. This is the type of writing that you'd typically expect on a sophomore album by a national-touring band. That being said, if this is what these dudes are writing on a five track ep, I fear the metal scene isn't quite ready for what these dudes could pump out on a full, ten track album. Add the ungodly howls from the vocalist into the mix and you have a true beast of a band. The vocals cover an impressive range fitting for each part of the albums they're on. You'll find yourself buried in a sea of devilish lows through much of 1877, but the vocalist certainly don't leave himself there for the entirety of the album; prepare yourself for his gnarly mixture of mids and lows that sounds totally fucking mental. "Insidious Bliss" and "Coffin Notice, Pt. II" seriously do not let up at all from the delivery of madness "Guillain Barre" set the bar for: these tracks are demanding, punishing and powerful. There are definitely parts where the guitar solo feels a bit melodic, and they always follow up with breakdowns that are just insane (see the end of Coffin Notice, Pt II). Hearing these tracks live would no doubt cause a shitstorm of violence as the breakdowns hit - an obvious clue the band did something right.
If you dig bands like Lorna Shore, The Black Dahlia Murder, A Night In Texas, and Aversions Crown then The Hopewell Furnace better be the next thing you fire up because these guys are on the same level as some of the finest in the genre these days. "The Day of the Rope (Black Thursday)" has this really wicked piano intro that leads into guitars playing along side it that is to die for. Don't hear this as a sign of weakness, though - before you know it, The Hopewell Furnace blast you right back into the anarchy as their technicality prevails and the heavy follows suit; a common theme on 1877. This is one of the finest written, executed and produced albums Soulless Cult has covered in 2018 up until now, and I feel like nothing I write here is going to do justice to just how much these dudes kill it on this ep. The only way to honestly convey to you how heavy this thing gets and how all over the place it is is to hear it for yourself. That being said, 1877 has easily made it to the top of my eps of the year and I can't fucking wait to see what these guys got planned next; if 1877 was any sort of indication of what The Hopewell Furnace has up its sleeve, then we are in for one hell of a ride.
But don't take my word for it, let the music speak for its self. Check out the music video below for "Guillain Barr" off the new ep, and if you dig what you hear be sure to check out the band on Facebook, Bandcamp, Instagram and their web store!