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Hope to Find - Our Story About you CD (album) cover


Hope to Find


Progressive Metal

4.16 | 17 ratings

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4 stars I hoped to find some good prog music but I found something more than that.

Sometimes, a band/artist/album has a weird impact on me from the first impression, a certainty that I and the music I'm about to receive are going to have a relationship of friendship and respect. From the first moment I set my eyes to the beautiful cover of the band with the amazing name, my hopes and expectations were high. Then I learned that HTF's place of origin is Turkey and my anticipation grew more. You see, I'm a big fan of Turkish and, generally, middle eastern rock bands and there is a good reason: you can always expect something different and unique from these bands. Maybe it's the richer cultural environment, the close relation with their musical traditions, the blending of the influences from both the East and the West, maybe something else. Whatever the reasons may be, the outcome is usually the same: there's something deep about their music, it feels more real, richer, exotic and colourful, music out of the box. Hope To Find is no exception and they totally fit in the above description.

Band members are Mert Erdem (vocals), Alper Dagalp (keyboards, accordion), Zafer Yuksel (guitars), Yavuz Sozkan (drums) and Koray Ergunay (bass), all individually doing a great job, as it will be described later on. They were founded back in 2003. Their first appearance was the song ''Dance of the flowers'' that was included in Eskisehir Rock Society compilation cd and ''Still Constant'', a promotional EP, was released in 2009. Obviously, the band has showed no haste and took its time to build a solid, personalized sound and to work thoroughly its compositions. The result justifies their efforts, as their progressive metal holds no clear indication about which their influences are. Ok, probably Dream Theater have influenced them, directly or not, at some time and maybe late 90's prog metal, in general. I didn't notice much classic prog rock sounds, probably a couple of Rush and Floyd parts here and there. On the contrary, there are some soft traditional and some jazz elements. My ears also picked up some modern grooves (especially in the rhythm section), suggesting that the band is no indifferent to good nu rock music of the past decade. Don't be mistaken though: Hope To Find has a very strong personality and they don't sound alike anyone.

Their style is melodic progressive metal. It is clear that the band's first aim is not to produce technicality and complexity but music that arouses feelings and emotions, beauty and sensitivity. Still, musicianship is remarkable: Mert's voice didn't get me excited at first but I soon realized the passion that fills his performances, his warm tone and mellow vocal lines contribute much to HTF's expressive gentleness. Thumbs up for the (few) mature guitarists of this world and Zafer is one of those: he provides a solid support to every track, both in rhythms and harmonies and rarely takes the lead role. Minimum solos and ''acrobatics'', mostly heavy riffing (Petrucci/Ostby style), trippy chords, jazzy passages and beautiful acoustic performances, this is his repertoire. Alper is HTF's key member: he seems to always choose the perfect synth sound to every part separately, fantastic keyboard work, really. In addition, he adds an amazing color by playing the accordion. Please use it more in the future! Yavuz and Koray's rhythm section is excellent too, these guys know how to be discrete without losing anything in dynamics and expression and, when given the chance, they perform more complex parts comfortably and precisely.

''Our story about you'' is a concept album consisted of 10 tracks, with a total running time of 47 minutes. The introduction ''Exile'' draws the curtain surprisingly with a trip hop loop, space textured synths and ''subconscious'' heavy guitars, demanding your attention and promising a quite unusual album. The main theme of ''Suddenly'' is magnificent and, to my delight, performed by the accordion. The song evolves into a mid tempo, dynamic and atmospheric manner and there's a breathtaking bridge at the middle. ''Yesterday, today, tomorrow'' begins in a darker mood, guitar and piano build a great harmony, eventually turning to a powerful heavy tune. ''Gently broken'' is probably the highlight of the album. Everything works perfectly here, the first jazzy part is excellent and all members give their best but above them rises the unique, supreme vocal performance of Erdem, his most magical moment in the album. ''Through the window'' is one minute of a sad melody heard by a clockwork music box that fades away, nothing but a brilliant, poetic idea. Keyboards take control in ''Instructional inspirations'', there are piano parts, symphonic parts, even 80's inspired parts and after 3.5 instrumental minutes, vocals step in, accompanied by an acoustic theme that reminded me a bit of Steven Wilson's style. There's a lighter-than-air, joyful and naughty feeling in ''Kaleidoscope'', a colourful track that ends up with an amazing bass solo, leaving me in a ''Hooray!'' state. The character of ''Worth to remember'' is a bit more technical and skillful, carrying some ''Awake'' vibes, while ''Memories'' is another 1.5 minute long interlude, a powerful acoustic composition that leads to ''Alienation'', the 10 minutes long final track of the album. The first 6 minutes are jazzy and acoustic, space elements can be found in the background and a touch of psych, all leading to a heavy climax, with rough guitar/keys combinations and a sentimental finale.

The album flows very well and all tracks are rightly positioned (though the best ones are in the first half). HTF's songwriting lacks choruses almost entirely, as well as solos and commercial parts but delivers adventurous, linear compositions, in which surprises may happen at any time. As said earlier, the entire band's creativity is focused in servicing each song's special feeling, musically and lyrically. The band sounds daring enough and, generally like keeping their musical horizons open. The only flaw of ''Our story about you'' is the production/mastering. I think that a lot of high and low frequencies are brought to surface, especially in drums and guitars, where I'd prefer the warmth and naturality of the midrange. Vocals are put above anything else in the mix but, to be honest, I like that. As a new fan of HTF, in the future I'd like to listen to a better production, extended use of the accordion and some more Turkish traditional music blended. A couple of catchy parts would be nice, just for variety. All jazz/fusion/acoustic parts are excellent so, why not dig deeper into this ground?

''Our story about you'' is something more than a very promising debut. It's a very good album that's intriguing, colourful and emotional, showing a band with the potential to achieve wonders in the future, if their musical spirit and freedom is reserved. I believe in the possibility of a masterpiece. In my opinion, this is the best prog metal album of 2014 so far (along with Need's ''Orvam''). If you care only for big names and mainstream prog bands, I don't believe this one's for you. If you're always looking for hidden treasures, Hope To Find will reward you. The most beautiful shells lie underneath the sand.

Finally, I want to thank the band personally, not only for providing me the promo material but for the kindness and professionalism they showed in our brief communication. It's obvious that the quality of music matches the quality of characters, as it always should.

With the highest expectations for the future my rate is 83/100, four very well deserved stars.

Aldebaran_Well | 4/5 |


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