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A Hope for Home - Realis Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8.5
Production 7.75
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 8.25
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 81%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.86
Musicianship 9.14
Lyrics 9.08
Production 8.83
Creativity 8.89
Lasting Value 8.94
Reviewer Tilt 8.89
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

A Hope for Home - Realis

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (03/31/10)
A Hope for Home - Realis
Record Label: Facedown
Release Date: March 30, 2010

With so much music to listen to and so little time, I typically pass on releases coming out on Facedown Records. I tend to picture bands of tattooed tough guys like xDeathstarx-- not exactly my bag-- and whether or not my prejudices are substantiated by reality, I need to have some method behind my obvious madness. However, something prompted me to give a listen to A Hope for Home's The Everlasting Man, released on Strike First last year, and I ended up very pleasantly surprised by their "refreshing" execution of metalcore, screamo, whatever.

I use the word refreshing loosely there, for lack of a better word. Listening leaves you feeling anything but refreshed. Their dark, moody sound evokes a strong sense of being lost. Not like being lost in a faraway town where you can ask someone for directions but don't because you're a guy, and we don't do things like that. Not lost like the passengers on Oceanic flight 815, whose prison is an island, one that's strange and occasionally sinister, but ultimately quite beautiful, the type of place you'd like to be stranded if you had to be. No, we're talking irrevocably lost, the kind where the spirit teeters on the brink of resignation as the last oppressively dim glimmer of optimism is slowly snuffed out.

The Everlasting Man was a definite step forward from their self-released Here, the End, an auspicious, but somewhat by-the-numbers and breakdown reliant record. Realis marks a further progression in the realm of atmosphere and ambience, seating them somewhere in the vicinity of bands like Oceana and labelmates Hands, who straddle the line between straight metalcore and artier, sludgier bands like Isis and Neurosis. Nathan Winchell's vocals have morphed to fit the mood-- on The Everlasting Man, there was vitriol, anger, fire and defiance in his screams, but on most of Realis, he echoes the anguished cries of writhing, damned souls, those who now only know despair and have all but given into it.

The album opens with the acoustic thrums of "Nightfall", which seem to mimic the sun slowly stealing away across the evening sky. As its last illuminating rays disappear over the horizon, the world fades into dusky penumbrae, and those certainties we've long held to be self-evident become increasingly mired in doubt until we're finally left in inky blackness. That's when the crushing guitars erupt, signaling Winchell's inner tumult and the quest for meaning on which he's about to embark. The riffs grow stiflingly thick before dropping off for the aptly named "No Light", the culmination of the downward spiral, a slow and soft but uncomfortable exercise in creeping, dank, choking darkness. Winchell proclaims, "There's no way out," and that's certainly how it feels.

No matter how dark the night, though, morning always comes, and so it is with our protagonist. With "Post Tenebras Lux" (Latin for "Light After Darkness") and "First Light of Dawn", we find Winchell emerging from his state of smothered disillusionment. There's still more than enough musical heaviness to satisfy, but there's a renewed confidence and understanding in his words-- "We fail every time we let this fear inside," he offers on "The Crippling Fear". And on "The Warmth of the Heavens", he makes a strong statement of reinvigorated faith: "With arms outstretched and hope intact, I fix my gaze to the stars above-- I can't feel their warmth burning on my skin, but they still shine, with no need to question them."

A significant portion of Realis languishes in dismal hopelessness, but that's not its utmost aim. Instead, it tells us, in a gut-wrenchingly real and honest way, that it's always darkest before the proverbial dawn. Winchell takes solace in the divine, and while similar comforts might not come so easily for some, A Hope for Home seem to impress on us that reality and truth are often ugly-- and they don't sugarcoat it with images of rainbows and unicorns-- but as dark and perilous as the road may seem, there's always, well, hope.

Track Listing1. Nightfall (4:18)
2. The Overman (3:06)
3. Withering Branches (3:40)
4. The Machine Stops (4:05)
5. No Light (4:38)
6. Post Tenebras Lux (5:52)
7. First Light of Dawn (4:24)
8. The Crippling Fear (4:08)
9. The Warmth of the Heavens (2:16)
10. Seasons (5:06)
11. Ascension (6:36)
12. After (3:43)


Check out A Hope for Home on Myspace and last.fm.
Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28
02:56 PM on 03/31/10
#2
inthemidst
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Really great review. Probably one of the best I've ever read of yours Jeremy. I find most "metalcore" to be tedious and repetitive, but this sounds like something much more refreshing. I will definitely check it out.
03:53 PM on 03/31/10
#3
intriguedbylife
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Nice review. I feel like the band has progressed in a strong direction with this album and that the 'lost' effect is a result of giving it a listen. Sitting back and listening to Realis, I felt that the band didn't loose their essence but progressed into a slightly harder territory with obvious similarities to It Prevails. The similarity isn't that surprising through, given the fact that they are both from the Portland area and have been/are close with one another.

To sum things up, if you are a fan of the more ambient metal/post-hardcore screaming scene, this is an album worth buying. I've listened to it three times already and find more and more qualities about it that I enjoy.
03:54 PM on 03/31/10
#4
inthemidst
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Nice review. I feel like the band has progressed in a strong direction with this album and that the 'lost' effect is a result of giving it a listen. Sitting back and listening to Realis, I felt that the band didn't loose their essence but progressed into a slightly harder territory with obvious similarities to It Prevails. The similarity isn't that surprising through, given the fact that they are both from the Portland area and have been/are close with one another.

To sum things up, if you are a fan of the more ambient metal/post-hardcore screaming scene, this is an album worth buying. I've listened to it three times already and find more and more qualities about it that I enjoy.
It Prevails is a great band.
03:58 PM on 03/31/10
#5
intriguedbylife
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Absolutely love It Prevails, going to see them in a few months with their new lineup and hope that it holds up to that of their old.
07:08 PM on 03/31/10
#6
SeeTheLights
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Great album and review.
03:47 AM on 04/01/10
#7
Romancebled
Sleep underground tonight...
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Excellent review. This album is damn good. The band definitely stepped it up on this one.
04:53 AM on 04/01/10
#8
brothaman
is too legit to quit.
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I dont really think this is a heavier album than The Everlasting Man, but i do think its a better album. In fact, its pretty soft in contrast with the earlier material, but much more experimental and ambient.
05:23 AM on 04/01/10
#9
Jaimehere
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ok because of this review, i will go and check this album out and also The Everlasting Man
05:53 AM on 04/01/10
batmannj
"No more half measures Walt"
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Awesome review, great album.
06:24 AM on 04/01/10
Smeee
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Great review. Definitely going to check this out now.
07:28 AM on 04/01/10
xsinkshipsx
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ok because of this review, i will go and check this album out and also The Everlasting Man
the everlasting man is fantastic. In the vein of beloved or hopefall with a bit of a post-rock edge...this album they took the post-rock and ran with it....can't wait to get it
07:46 AM on 04/01/10
Blake Solomon
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the everlasting man is fantastic. In the vein of beloved or hopefall with a bit of a post-rock edge...this album they took the post-rock and ran with it....can't wait to get it

You write about this in a very convincing way but sadly I know this won't interest me. Still, it was well done.

Now I'm going to watch the dark knight
08:13 AM on 04/01/10
jasonisasleep
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Love this album
08:28 AM on 04/01/10
priceofsilver
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Loving Realis.
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