Review: “1877” EP by The Hopewell Furnace

When you call a place like Eckley Pennsylvania home, things are fairly bleak. The center of the coal mining region of the American Northeast isn’t exactly the happiest of places at the best of times. But from trials come fire and brimstone and  The Hopewell Furnace have a reputation for dark, atmospheric and some even say down right punishing Technical Death Metal. The bands latest release “1877” is something of a concept EP, telling the story of “The Day of the Rope”, which saw 10 Irish Immigrant men alleged to be part of a secret sect of vigilantes known as the Molly Maguires hung…

43 second instrumental “1877” sets a chilling tone like the introduction music to a gothic horror TV series with dark atmospheric overtones and just a hint of creep and menace before “Guillain Barre” comes piling in. Immediate verse vocals with just a few seconds to guitar work roar dark ferocity. Blast beats and Technical Death Metal lead guitar  flourishes with techtonic tempo changes as crushing breakdowns are highlighted by those incredible leads. It’s a relentless pile driver of a song with that closes it’s dark edges with a masterful dance macabre piano element. “Incidious Bliss” then bounces back from the palette cleansing piano with with a higher pitched vocal tone underpinned by a  darker gutteral tone. High quality production value and mixing keeps the sound clean and crisp allowing the phenomenal drumming skills to shine. The dark atmospherics are built on with dark synths allowing for a break in the relentless attack.

“Coffin Notice Pt. II” picks things up with a more groove metal riff than the previous tracks before building into the more technical material. Slowing down the music to allow for some huge breakdowns before returning with piano and synths as an underpinning that gives the song a horror film soundtrack feel that is simply stunning. “Day Of The Rope (Black Thursday)” continues that vibe and builds upon it making the whole sound epic. Driven blast beats keep things going at breakneck speed that stops for a few seconds of bass solo. The song closes out with that menacing piano and once again it’s a sign of quality.

There are so many elements with each song that appear right and left with dark gothic horror undertones make the EP an epic film soundtrack that doesn’t stop offering up new things with each repeated listen. The breakneck pace gives that an extra edge and while the stunningly good Technical Death Metal guitar work is one element, the sticks work and dark synths and pianos adds a chill. Not only does the EP tell the tale, it does so in glorious technicolour [9/10]

Track listing

  1. 1877
  2. Guillain Barre
  3. Incidious Bliss
  4. Coffin Notice Pt. II
  5. Day Of The Rope (Black Thursday)

“1877” by The Hopewell Furnace is out now!

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