“There are forces out there that want to see you suffer,” continues guitarist Josh Bowles, when speaking of the motivations behind the album as a whole. “When you are too tired, exhausted, miserable or apathetic to stand up for your rights, they will take them from you. That is the shock doctrine”. London based Hardcore Punks Cope have been creating a riff cocktail for our consumption since the summer 2015, when Bowles was joined by vocalist Tom Walker, bassist Jason Heightman, drummer Soloman Radley and guitarist duo Ed Thompson (studio only) and Jay Miller. Together they hammered out a pair of EPs in 2016’s “Challenge Oppression/Pursue Equality” and 2017’s “Tooth & Nail” before embarking on the journey that would bring them to their debut album. They’re a band known for and driven by their social awareness, political beliefs and a desire to promote change with a positive message.
Cope have always described themselves as ‘Heavy Punk‘ and when it comes it, their whirlwind of riffs and barked unclean vocals from Walker has a lot in common with the likes of Evergreen Terrace. Heightman and Miller both add backing vocals of their own and with “Life In 3D” the album gets off to a ferocious start. The song title might seem a little bit abstract but it tells the tale of a Texan Gentleman who creates the first 3D printer gun and then shares the design online to be downloaded by the masses. “I’m Alright, Jack” is similarly frantic, treading the fine line between Hardcore and Punk, with a foot in both camps and doing what sounds good, keeping things high energy and getting that all important message across. The rhythm section holds a fine gallop down throughout and how they manage to shoehorn in a couple of very brief lead parts beggars belief at the speed of this full on attack. “Gold” drops things down a notch for its introduction before picking up into some groovy riffs and bringing home the gang chants at 100mph. Cope don’t know how to do things by halves and even a couple of build up or slower moments have that edge to them that says that they are going to get real fast, real quick and that’s fearfully addictive. Keeping that sense of urgency very much alive with some Thrashier riffs and breakneck tempos “Jailbird” makes sure that when it comes to the middle of the album, there is absolutely zero fat to trim.
A music video for “Empire” appeared 15 months before the album itself and has some Metalcore inspired lead parts amid the furious frustration of Walker’s tale, which sees him reach previously unheard lows with his gravelly unclean tones. Probably the heaviest track on the album and a stand out, it has that extra bite and is the one that draws blood. A warped spoken word with some 1920s Jazz music in the background makes “Territory Missing” something that could well see the band take to or exit from the stage before the ripping “Damned If We Don’t” smashes every single piece of glass in the place. Somehow summoning that little bit more energy, Cope go full throttle on this one leaving nothing but a dust cloud in their wake and the message is clear. Cope are a band that get bit between their teeth when it comes to what they see and what is wrong and they run with it like a bear with a thorn in his claw until everyone knows about it. Turning their attention to the pain of social media, “Influenza” is the anti social behaviour order that has the instant sing-a-long ability and slowing things down for a solo is something skillfully done. In “The Shock Doctrine“, Cope have created a collection of songs with a up and at them attitude while telling it like it is and not pausing for breath. It’s a powerful statement piece [7.5/10]