“Hopeisnowhere” is the debut album from UK-based four-piece LAY SIEGE. Founded in 2010, the band released the EP “Obulus” in 2012, and are joined by new vocalist Carl Brown on this driving, groove-heavy offering.
Like the striking black and white cover that adorns the album’s front, the music on “Hopeisnowhere” takes the competing elements of melody and pure, metallic bite and channels them into a single-minded display of rage. The band’s thick, bottom-heavy riffs draw equally from the percussiveness of Metalcore and the engrossing, textured tendencies of Post-Rock/Metal. While the band’s projects a very outwardly aggressive attitude with their solid musicianship, the album has a noticeably bleak and nihilistic mood, as can be gleaned from tracks such as “The Illusion of Choice,” “March Of The Flock,” and “The Afflicted.”
The band come out in strong form with the rhythmic chugging of “Irebot,” but things really start moving with “Glass Veil”, which seethes with anger at all speeds, while lead single “Hollow Man” conjures equal feelings of animosity and disillusionment. The aforementioned songs also establish the band’s presence, especially in the accomplished riffing of Jamie Steadman, who switches between moments of soulless aggression and textured, atmospheric grace at will. Combined with the tight rhythm section of Lewis Niven and David Bartlett, LAY SIEGE mix the vivid and chaotic with articulate lyrics and a precise, yet uncompromising musical attack. There is enough inter-song variety that the repetition of this formula never feels tired, even if it could use a tad more excitement. While offerings like the aforementioned “Glass Veil,” the haunting “Blue Pill,” and the uncharacteristically mellow instrumental title track make for some great listening, but while they are consistently impressive to say the least, the album is short on truly jaw-dropping displays.
Nevertheless, “Hopeisnowhere” is a strong and satisfying effort in its own right, and is especially well-written and focused for a debut record. It should have equal appeal to atmospheric/Post-Metal fans as well as lovers of aggressive, groove-oriented Metal.