Review: Heart of a Coward - Hope and Hindrance
It's such songwriting that sees the skillful guitar work of Carl Ayers and Steve Haycock built into thundering grooves that you can find on the likes of Around a Girl (In 80 Days) and And Only Time Will Tell, alongside the surprisingly catchy We Stand as One, one of the catchiest and most uplifting decent metal songs since perhaps Pantera's Cowboys From Hell. Given the use of palm muting across the album, these grooves come thicker, with much greater depth than much competition. (Sylosis, perhaps?)
The songwriting in itself feels like a proper event musically. From the moment opener Killing Fields reaches it's conclusion and seamlessly flows into All Eyes to the Sky, something of a sense of enlightenment can be felt from the delicate soundscaping the band captivate. Built into graceful melodies and dramatic backdrops, the progressive element brought into the music is only too beautiful. By the time the album bows out on the magnificent outro of Break These Chains mixing such absorbing atmospherics with such pulsing grooves, you're left knowing that this is a band that Jamie Graham has put his heart and soul into and are on a completely different page to his previous musical outing.
You learn that, and the fact that maybe there is something to this specific "djent" scene after all. It's really not a term I want to use regularly, but if it manages to create something as wonderful as Hope and Hindrance, then it's probably a term worth looking out for if it's able to give bands a guideline of how to make their albums. Heart of a Coward have looked down this path while bringing in their own knowledge of progressive metal and metalcore to bring something truly heavy, truly clever and truly mind-blowing to the ever-rising world of new British metal bands. And for not checking them out until now, I feel dirty, like I've committed a criminal offence.
Heart of a Coward's Hope and Hindrance is out now via Self-Release. The band will tour the UK in November on the Metal Hammer Razor Tour with Devil Sold His Soul, Heights and Steak Number Eight.