Artist: The Hopewell Furnace
Album: 1877 – EP
1877 is a year buried in the midst of some of the United States’ most tumultuous and formative years. While a lot happened (I invite you to peruse the Wikipedia Page at your leisure), one event is crucial for the understanding of the concept underlying the conceptual EP by Pennsylvanian technical Deathcore outfit, The Hopewell Furnace. In late June—around the time you’re reading this, hopefully—ten men of Irish heritage were hanged on “The Day Of the Rope” for their purported connection with a vigilante outfit, The Molly Maguires. More information can be gleaned from 1877, or from The Internet (see the aforementioned wiki) on your time, but that event serves as the conceptual foundation and aesthetic basis for the long awaited release by this crushing quartet. What else do you need to know? Read on—because 1877 is a dense and devastating release packed with technicality, brutality and atmosphere aplenty.
Every second of 1877 makes up for lost time since the band’s previous barn-burner of a record. From the paralyzing and punishing salvos of skin-peeling percussion on “Guillan Barré” to “Coffin Notice pt. I” and “Day Of The Rope,” the band are a cohesive and crushing force to be reckoned with. While fast drumming and groovy bass serve as the foundation for the band’s musical malevolence, guitarists Jared Delgado and Josh Gretchen keep the listener’s head pounding start to finish. Lead single and lacerating, mile-per-minute hit “Guillan Barré” steals the show in this respect, alongside the riveting “Insidious Bliss.” Here, Delgado and Gretchen are innovative and intense, racing between ruthless breakdowns and scathing leads, barely taking a break themselves, let alone letting the listener find any sense of reprieve. Then, the barbaric closer “The Day Of the Rope” seals the listener in a tomb topped by ten tons of tremendous brutality. The fact is that 1877 sees every aspect of The Hopewell Furnace working perfectly together, pummeling the listener with every manner of brutality one can possibly fathom. Where the front half of the record is balanced, the latter half is unhinged, delivering blow after blow of riff-driven-but-chug-heavy aggression.
The Hopewell Furnace continues it’s infernal barrage on the listener with the group’s incredible vocal dynamism. AJ Fuehrer and Nikoli Giranda split vocal duties and, pardon my French, damn, it’s a doozy. Together, Fuehrer and Giranda hit every range the listener can fathom, matching each other’s cadence with practiced precision. Together, the duo shine on every track 1877 has to offer, bringing the stories of centuries passed to life with hellish intensity. “Day Of the Rope” serves as what might be the most technically impressive track where The Hopewell Furnace is concerned—but “Insidious Bliss” is surely the most anthemic, with catchy vocal and lyrical hooks that listeners will latch onto greedily. Together, Giranda and Fuehrer hit highs, lows and everything in between, keeping the listener hooked with one part ingenuity and one part pure intensity—what more can anyone want from a record?
1877 is short, but packs one Hell of a punch. The Hopewell Furnace are technical, groovy, heavy and even slightly symphonic at parts, packing much more than the norm into a five-track Deathcore EP. Where some critics will proclaim that much of the record has “already been done,” that type of claim really lacks credibility and substance—what hasn’t been done—and fails to detract from just how powerful this release is. Fans of heavy and hectic, rejoice; The Hopewell Furnace might just surprise you with one of your favorite EPs of 2018.
For Fans Of: Shadow Of Intent, Make them Suffer, Oceano, Chelsea Grin, Nexilva
By: Connor Welsh