What is more rewarding and satisfying? Is it listening to an album you have heard all about and finding out it does live up to all the hype? Or, is it discovering a brand new band you have never heard of before and finding out that they are really rather good? The first one is almost like relief, the second is unexpected pleasure.
One of the problems about being a reviewer is that you cannot, possibly, listen to every album that is released and sent your way so, you may miss an absolute beauty and listen to a rather poor album instead. That is a risk we take and it does haunt me sometimes, I worry that I will maybe overlook a gem of a release but, you can’t have everything and must take the rough with the smooth.
I am also very lucky in that the lovely founder of our amazing webzine is a rather good judge of music and, also, what music each of her authors may like so, when she does ask me to check out something that isn’t in the normal promo pool, it will, most likely, be good (and probably Turkish).
So, when she asked me to check out Hope to Find, I did so with a gusto and relish that I may not normally show. A progressive rock band from Turkey? Sounds good to me and, oh boy, how right did I turn out to be!
Hope to Find is a progressive rock band from Eskişehir, Turkey which was formed in 2003. The band released their first track, ‘Dance of the Flowers’, in 2006 for the compilation CD of Eskişehir Rock Society. In December 2009, 4-track promotional EP, ‘Still Constant’, was released featuring a video clip for the track titled ‘City Soul’.
The band toured nationwide following release of the EP and the most remarkable performance was with the Polish progressive rock band Riverside (Istanbul, 2010). Current band members are Mert Erdem (Vocals), Alper Dağalp (Keyboards, accordion), Zafer Yüksel (Guitars), Yavuz Sozkan (Drums) and Koray Ergunay (Bass). In May 2014, the band released their first full length concept album, ‘Our Story About You’.
The album starts with a gently meandering instrumental of electronic sounds backed by a thumping percussive beat, calming and relaxed Exile takes you on a three minute meander as it builds up to the first, proper, song Suddenly. Now this is an entirely different animal, powerful and dark with an oriental feel, it is almost doom metal in its feel. The vocals are threatening and mysterious and the tempo is slow and measured. The song erupts into a thunderous riff with layered keyboards adding a veil of suspense and insecurity to proceedings. It is like being pummelled into submission by an evil clown with a rubber hammer. Another complex change delivers earnest vocals and subtle keyboards to deliver a pleading note before the song comes to a compelling conclusion. My interest has definitely been piqued at this stage and that only intensifies as the portentous riff kicks in at the start of Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. A general feeling of melancholy and sorrow pervades at the start of this track, this music has an infinite depth and all knowing resignation to it. The general apathy is lifted a little as the pace rises along with a hard, grungy guitar note and compelling percussive beat. Erdem has a great range to his vocals so, when his voice lifts, so does the gloom and you are left with a small feeling of hopefulness as the track comes to an abrupt ending.
Gently Broken cements a thought that has been lingering in the back of my mind over the initial tracks on this album. These guys are seriously accomplished musicians and, on this song, that really comes to the fore. There are heavy doses of established acts Haken and Dream Theater dropped in throughout, the initial laid back vocals and gentle piano lend Erdem’s voice a hit of James Labrie and the whole musical delivery, including the fantastically intricate drumming from Yavuz hark back to the early days of Dream Theater but are stamped with the band’s own signature. The emotion and soul inherent in this song is incredibly expressive and really grabs your attention, in fact, I’d go as far as saying it is some of the best progressive metal I’ve heard in quite a while. There is an intricate section in the middle which shows off their skill with aplomb, we are really onto something here. The aggressive, yet superbly textured, guitar note is addictive and the coruscating solo is brilliant. This superb track gently fades out leaving a huge grin on my face. Through the Window is a one minute interlude of a musical box sound that is actually quite creepy and sets my hairs on end before we move onto Instructional Inspirations that begins with what is becoming a signature sound that is full of depth and character. A gentle piano and guitar wash over you before a deeper, stronger riff kicks in accompanied by the ever impressive drums. Technically excellent and full of complexity but filled with emotion, you are taken on a twisting journey through an inviting soundscape that holds you in its thrall. The chugging riff works in context with the lush keyboards to deliver something quite sublime and, when the acoustic guitar kicks in, I’m transported to a much better place. The vocals drip with an intense passion and hit you deep in your soul, this is deeply emotive music written to make an impact, a complete antithesis to the banality of the mainstream blandness we are subjected to everyday. There is no break as we run, helter-skelter, into Kaleidoscope, Erdem delivering another stirring vocal performance. These musicians are masters of their art, blending an intricacy with a lightness of touch that gives the whole song an uplifting, hope filled vista and aura. I feel my heart filling with a powerful force as this music bleeds through my whole being, leaving me a different person than before. There is an honesty and distinct lack of guile to what you are hearing as, uninhibited and free, the song runs to a close.
Worth to Remember begins with an impassioned riff and the vocals carry on that feel, delivered with verve and gusto. There is an aggressive undertone to the song, inherent in the almost grating guitar note that is shown in places. This contrasts well with the more subdued sections to deliver a clever contradiction in parts, almost as if it was a musical discourse between two alter egos. The song runs out to an impassioned plea along with intricate keyboard and fret work. Memories is a little gem of an instrumental, a short track, just a smooth acoustic guitar laying down a repeated rhythm that gets right under your skin leaving a feeling of muted memories. The final track, Alienation, is the magnum opus on the album at nearly ten minutes. It is a deep, musical mosaic that begins in a reflective, graceful tone. The eminent vocals are ardent and poignant and leave a calming trace upon your psyche, the keyboards that follow are wistful and contemplative. The tempo rises as the involved drumming takes the song to another level, the vocals still soft and gentle yet with more urgency as they trace a convoluted pattern in your mind. There is almost a hushed secrecy to the atmosphere, as if you’re unwilling to share this beauteous bounty with anyone. All of a sudden the spell is broken and the frenetic drum beat leads in a mysterious intruder. The guitar takes on an ominous persona, slightly evil and chaotic, something slightly impure amongst the virtuous, as if you cannot be shielded from the vagaries of the real world anymore, all innocence lost.
Well this musical treasure hunting team that is Lady Obscure Music Magazine has, once more, unearthed a musical jewel. With a maturity and skill beyond their years and experience Hope to Find have delivered a stunning album of complexity, grace and brilliance and have left this author slack jawed with awe and appreciation. Do yourself a favour, seek it out and buy it, it really is that good!