By now, if you're an avid Tooth & Nail fan, you're probably familiar with dance/emo outing And Then There Were None. But what you may not know about the group is that before they were making their brand of dance music, they were tearing up their fans' ear drums with some pretty sweet metalcore. And they had a couple albums within this genre before their Tooth & Nail debut. Clocking in at twenty-one minutes is their seven-song EP, The Hope We Forgot Exists.
"Standing Still" wastes no time introducing themselves. A clean guitar riff over some upbeat drums lead to vocals from Matt Rhoades that almost sound like they could fit on Facedown Records release. The sound continues into "With The Stars," where they also introduce more of a melodic feel to the chorus. "I Dream of Letting Go" features some beautifully-executed double bass with a short breakdown near the end of the song, accompanied by some quick finger work on the guitars. "Refutation" has some more of the singing sans screaming in the chorus. At the first listen of the album, the singing sounded pretty good mixed in with the screams, but on their own they're slightly annoying. Although, the opposite is true in "Reason To Believe." The screaming/speaking mixture of "I turned away and I found a reason to believe, I'm not afraid, I found a reason to believe" is much less than appealing, and it's the speaking part that's really to blame on this one (I say "speaking" because it's not so much singing, and it's maybe somewhere in-between singing and yelling). But it becomes less "speaking" and more singing in "Suffering In Solitude," where it returns to sounding pretty decent. The longest track on the EP is last (almost two minutes longer than the second longest, partially due to the kind of lengthy breakdown that turns into an acoustic guitar-laden outro). "Is Love Worth Dying For?" follows suit with the rest - with the acoustic guitar being the exception - and ends the EP on a fairly strong note.
On its own, The Hope We Forgot Exists makes for an alright EP. It's not really the best in the metalcore genre, but definitely not bad. If you haven't listened to this, but are already familiar with their Tooth & Nail debut, besides the dramatically different genre you can expect slightly better (and less repetitive) music and more spiritually-based lyrics, but a little lower production quality.- Review date: 4/1/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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