Review: “A Transition” Split EP by Hilltops Are For Dreamers & Repent For Joy

Labelled as if it were a cassette or a 7″ vinyl, “A Transition” is a split EP between ambitious London Melodic Death Metallers Hilltops Are For Dreamers and Repent for Joy, giving each of the two bands two tracks a piece so show us what they’re made of. The two bands share a bass player in Dionysus which gives you the connection between the two and for the later this is a debut release. Engineered & Recorded by Hilltops Are For Dreamers at Hilltops Recordings and Parakrousi Studios with Enger in also recording in Oslo, Norway before mixing and mastering by Simone Pietroforte (Gassed Up, ROT, Intracranial Purulency), getting this far has been something of a journey…

Hilltops Are For Dreamers have been on our radar since their self titled EP and have collaborated with a new clean vocalist for this release with Michael Enger from Norwegians Beyond The Barricade at the helm. XYears vocalist Mike Buttigieg is still a collaborator in the project and may return for the album that the band are currently working on. The first of the new tracks “The Tide” sees HAFD introduce a few Post-Hardcore touches that manifest a fine galloped drum pattern and riff into the chorus that has a sing-a-long ability before exiting out via Black Metal blast beats in fine fashion. The band have clearly worked on incorporating some atmospheric moments, which a certain light to their darkness while staying true to their Soilwork and In Flames influenced roots. “All We Need” has flavours of older A Day To Remember within it’s harmonious clean vocals that are coupled with a harsh backing and some electrifying riffs while still managing to be heavy enough to deliver a punchy bounce. Both tracks are polished affairs that are executed as the band intended them to be and bode well for that forthcoming album, building neatly on the foundations of their EP [8/10]

Repent for Joy hail from Patras in Greece and are also a Melodic Death Metal act, featuring in their ranks Dionysus (Hilltops Are For Dreamers, Celene) and Nikos Souris (Hope Thinks Infinate) and this marks their debut release. There are obvious similarities between the two bands however Repent for Joy push their extremes further with more clean vocals and greater contrast between them and the uncleans. There is a Post-Hardcore rapture caught in within “Under The Oath” and there is also a Black Metal vibe running through it that is hard to ignore and the marriage of the two should sound like a car crash with the styles grating against each other like nails on a chalk board. However the musicianship of the members of this band makes sure it doesn’t and instead we get something more harmonious and dare we suggest, progressive. Their second track is much more of a straight up affair in “Withering Life“. It builds on the Black Metal moments to the point that you might consider them the works of two different bands with some impressive kit work and sea shanty back and forth riffs. It’s harder to see which direction this band will take with their next release, but it sure is going to be an intriguing ride [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Hilltops Are For Dreamers – The Tide
  2. Hilltops Are For Dreamers – All We Need
  3. Repent For Joy – Under The Oath
  4. Repent For Joy – Withering Life

A Transition“, a split EP by Hilltops Are For Dreamers & Repent For Joy is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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