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Shattered Hope - Application For Heroism
As heavy music marches on and on, sometimes bands pop out of nowhere and make a stunning impression on the always-hungry-for-innovative metal-audience. One of the bands that has made quite the rising force in a short time’s notice here in the Netherlands is named Textures, but now; we’re here today to review another rising force from the Netherlands. And it’s called Shattered Hope.
 
Shattered Hope’s  roots lie mainly in doom metal, which was actually the first thing that came to mind when I heard the intro of ‘Wartime Extravagance’. A slow guitar intro accompanied by atmospheric keyboards, swiftly followed by melodic clean vocals which are shortly after interrupted by some deep grunts. This description covers most of the other songs, actually. The song structures sound pretty interesting, especially because Shattered Hope succeeded in combining the atmospheric doom sound with catchy mid-paced heavy metal.
I like it that the group isn’t afraid to experiment with different rhythms and ska-like guitar riffs, grunt/clean vocal usage and the dark sounding keyboards all mixed together. But somehow, the mix doesn’t always sound ‘right’. I think it’s because of the sudden twists and turns the songs contain. Singer Maarten’s clean vocals remind me a lot of a folksinger from a Scandinavian pop group (mostly because of certain notes he lays the emphasis on when rolling out his melodic repertoire) and therefore leave a mixed feeling behind when the very same vocalist bursts into brutal grunting all of a sudden. I would’ve liked to see a smoother transition between the two vocal styles, like a more rawer voice instead of the ‘Scandinavian pop voice’. It’s really hard to get a suitable clean voice for the kind of music Shattered Hope are creating. I don’t want it to look like a bitching sequence about the vocals, so I’ll let the topic rest and move on.
 
A song which immediately drew my attention was the well-balanced (yes! Even the vocals! Ok, ok, I’ll shut up already) ‘Bye Bye Benevides’. Starting with a catchy distorted arpeggio, ‘Bye Bye…’ transcends into one of those catchy riffs you hope to hear every now and then, neglecting the style of the band you’re listening to. It’s that little something you need to draw you over the line of taking a closer look at an album.
 
The sound is very nicely mastered. If it weren’t for booklet and the biography, It'd have been hard to tell if this is a band signed by a label or not. But seeing this is a non-label product, I’m very much impressed by the quality of the album. The logo looks nice, although the artwork isn’t too impressive. Maybe it’ll change in time, I don’t know.
 
Like I mentioned in my little introduction, this band has the possibility to become that rising force we need so badly in the Netherlands. Some work still needs to be done, though. The clean vocals need a little shaving to fit the style of music (or maybe it’s just the vocal melody that bothers me a bit sometimes) and the guitar sound could’ve been a little more ‘razor like’ and ‘heavy’ at points where the grunts kick in. There’s also the issue of some solo keyboard parts that I find a bit misplaced, yet when blended into the whole it fits perfectly.
 
I think this band deserves a chance to be heard. Book them for your venues, get their album in your store and sell it at the counter; just make sure bands like this get the chance to reach the audience.
Shattered Hope - Application For Heroism
70/1001Details -
Released on Friday Apr 28th, 2006
Modern Heavy Metal

Writer @Bastian Blackrain on Friday Apr 28th, 2006

Tags: #Shattered Hope
Tracklisting 1. Wartime Extravagance
2. Bye Bye Benevides
3. Theory Of Chaos
4. Depths Of Human Ignorance
5. Twice The Deception
6. Intermission: Not Responsible
7. Die Totentanz
Line up Vocals - Maarten Opbroek
Drums - Chris Nijboer
Bass - Olav van Duin
Guitar - Jord Elgersma
Keys - Harmen Voortman