“Hereafter” contains six tracks of varied Progressive Extreme Metal enriched with plenty of atmospheric parts to convey what I suspect is a conceptual piece of work, although I´ve yet to determine the fact 100%.
Complex compositions of conceptual ilk conceived through Progressive Extreme Metal music, “Hereafter” is definitely up my alley, as far as my tastes in Metal music are concerned. Hands Of Despair, the brainchild of one Maxime Coté, initially starting out as a solo project in 2009, today a full band with ambitions. There´s a chapter between the two turning points, namely this album.
The album was originally released digitally in 2011, but thanks to Deathbound Records, it has now seen a proper physical release. A vital step for Coté´s songwriting capabilities and overall experience of doing a full album, “Hereafter” contains six tracks of varied Progressive Extreme Metal enriched with plenty of atmospheric parts to convey what I suspect is a conceptual piece of work, although I´ve yet to determine the fact 100%.
The tracks themselves are exciting and diverse. There´s of course lots of headbanging riffs, be it muscular Deathcore movements or evil tremolo picking. Plenty of Death/Black Metal assaults, particularly on “Shattered Memories”, the album´s most accessible track. My favorite track at the moment is “Underworld”, there´s everything from furious hyperblasting to classy, epic riffage inspired by “Blackwater Park” repertoires (guess which band), a saucy blend of various tempos.
The album´s musical peak comes in the eleven minute “Creator”, containing a very cool interlude segued between pure Metal bliss! A different approach is found midway in the track “Them”; it´s not commonplace to have simple Deathcore riffs entwined with subtle piano dramatics and peculiar female vocals… AND executing it in such a way as to not ruin an otherwise good track, nice feature.
Coté managed to secure some pretty cool players for this album as well. One of them being Egan ´O Rourke from Daylight Dies, offering his delicate and melancholy drenched clean vocals on two tracks, spicing things up a little more. Another skillful player onboard is Lyle Cooper, known for bashing the drums in American tech deathsters The Faceless. He brings a very brutal yet dynamic drum style to the songs.
Hands Of Despair, like stated early in the review, are a well rehearsed crew today and Coté´s songwriting has aged four years since the release of “Hereafter”, which is interesting to keep in mind since it´s a fact that the next release is coming pretty soon! This album is well worth your time though, you just have to like badass Metal to get into it! 8/10.
1. The Departure
2. Shattered Memories
6. The Road