Sound — 8
"Hope And Hindrance" is the debut album from Milton Keynes, UK metal band Heart Of A Coward. Their style falls somewhere between hardcore, metalcore and also djent to some degree. The band take inspiration from artists such as Textures, Monuments, and Deftones. Groove filled guitar playing is heard on most songs, with melodic lead lines and also occasional breakdowns used. The band have compared some of their more melodic material to "White Pony" era Deftones, which is definitely a fair suggestion. With the album being put back due to the loss of guitarist/clean vocalist Timfy James, the release been in production for some time but with this album HOAC are set to take the UK heavy scene by storm. They have already built up a formidable live reputation and the album should see them step up to the next level. "Hope And Hindrance" is manly based around new tracks combined with a few revamped older songs such as "Break These Chains" and "Around A Girl (In 80 Days)" from their 2009 EP.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically the album's theme is very much summed up in the title. The ideas of hope and hindrance, and positive and negative, make up the idea behind this record. Tracks such as "Shade" and "Around A Girl (In 80 Days)" are filled with hate, whereas others such as "Break These Chains" are themed around overcoming adversity. The positive "hope" side of the album follows ideas such as new beginnings and facing challenges, which provide a good balance. Vocalist Jamie Graham has tremendous vocal ability, he mainly stays to low - mid growls throughout, however there is also evidence of his strong singing on some of the more melodic tracks, such as "Light". Graham also employs higher pitched screams to great effect.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I think this is a strong debut release from Heart Of A Coward, it is vastly different to their 2009 EP due to their new change in sound and the introduction of Jamie Graham as vocalist, however it is clear that "Hope And Hindrance" is a significant step up from previous work. It is fairly cohesive as a collection of songs, though perhaps more so in the second half of the album, with the closing tracks flowing particularly well. With 10 tracks the album is over quite quickly, and demands repeated listens due to its often dense and layered nature. Heart Of A Coward certainly deserve to progress in terms of exposure and popularity, and "Hope And Hindrance" should definitely provide this.