Nearly eighty minutes long and filled with all sorts of stunning starts and stops - musical mastery for the modern age Hope Drone's second record, the mind bending Cloak of Ash is perhaps the best intellectual metal record of the year. In the vein of acts like Cult of Luna or, dare I say, Downfall of Gaia these guys have been able to craft a stunning and intense sound that will capture the imagination and keep your mind twirling time and time again. The fact of the matter is Cloak of Ash does what Altar of Plagues did with Teethed Glory And Injury in 2013, it reshapes paradigms.
Cloak of Ash is endlessly fascinating to me because it manages to interweave complex melodies within a structure that is often dense and hard to pick apart. Hope Drone have been able to carve out a very distinct sound for themselves with a colossal bottom end and blazing guitar parts that leave you scraping your jaw off the floor. The black metal sensibilities that define this record only serve to provide a backbone for whatever else Hope Drone might want to do. There is something utterly mesmerizing about Cloak of Ash too, the fact of the matter, is once you start hitting those twenty minute long songs you find yourself getting lost in the music, and trying not to fall to hard in love.
Hope Drone prove the enduring power of extreme metal with a sound that is remarkably fresh and endlessly engaging. Every time I spin this record I find myself picking apart new layers and becoming ever more charmed with its seemingly endless world of ideas and musical patterns. Master songwriters and top notch musicians Hope Drone are crafting something inextricably human, something that you can't help but listen too time and time again because it opens up a window to the soul.
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