For anyone hoping against hope that society will move beyond the ever-prescient doomsday aesthetic of crust punk, the forecast isn’t promising. It’s never been a more apt time for playing chicken with the apocalypse than right now.
Enter PDX’s Hope?, an absolutely ripping D-beat act embracing the time honored traditions of the genre. The group has a singular approach to their sonic savagery. The question mark that punctuates their open ended moniker is indicative of their empowering worldview, resisting both resignation and retreat. The band makes hay of that sliver of hope, finding transcendence in near darkness.
Dropped in the dog days of 2021, Dead and Gone is nine tracks of straight up essential punk. Had I been a touch less impatient, my AOTY list would’ve needed a reshuffling. Available via Minneapolis’ Desolate Records, the LP is a crusher.
Across the longplayer, Hope? marries a blown out and vicious hardcore sound to a dense and weighty low end, which should satisfy fans of everything from Tørsö and 偏執症者 (Paranoid) to the best of the '90s.
Song of the Day “Hope?” doubles down on the band name and arrives on an epic run of thudding toms and gloriously gross bass tone. When vocalist Manda’s lines come in, the track explodes. They have a uniquely shredded and commanding presence, bringing a confidence to an already fearsome sound. In lieu of overcrowded or growled vocals, they instead opt for the decipherable, drawn out approach, which only ups the ante on emphasis and urgency.
I’m getting vibes of Sweden’s early oughts masters To What End?, who also have a predilection for punctuation.
Eschewing the more epic end of crust, this is fucking ripping, as are the surrounding tracks. It goes for the throat early and doesn’t leave until they find a way to take some flesh on their way out.
What makes the act so special is best summed up by citing their record label’s description of the band… “Punk that’s made to give hope and yearning to create a better world together.” I can’t think of a better mission statement.
They may want to see the world reborn in fire, but Hope? burns with righteousness and intention. Get this immediately.