Hope Attrition

Chris Grigg (then known as Xos) burst on the the USBM scene with Woe on 2009s stunning debut, A Spell for the Death of Man, a nigh perfect black metal albumThen a year later released Quietly, Undramatically on Candlelight Records and the now full band was starting to get mentioned in the same breath as Wolves in the Throne Room, Krallice, Cobalt and such in the pantheons of American Black metal. But then came 2013s Withdrawal, a slight style shift, some clean vocals, a lukewarm reception and suddenly the band was no longer on Candlelight and goes dark for a few years.

Well, a couple of new members and a few years later, Grigg and Woe has returned to the fray, and in rather spectacular fashion, as Hope Attrition sees a furious return to form and deliver some searing, modern black metal that shares more in common with the debut and the second album.

First, the clean vocals are all but gone (they only briefly appear on “The Din of the Mourning”), with Grigg delivering with a fierce rasp and a more deathly bellow, that has a powerful presence. Second, the material is mostly much more black metal based as opposed to the slightly dirtier, punk/black/thrash elements that surfaced on Quietly, Undramatically. Hope Attrition is full of sharp, blistering tremolo picked majesty and melody that drop with a tangible intensity and resolve. You can tell Grigg has unleashed a few years of pent up frustration with the material.

“Unending Call of Woe” starts the album with a patient build before utterly exploding with contempt and today’s state of the planet and humanity in general. “No Blood Has Honor” continues the spite with another furious assault, though the song’s last minute hints at a more somber mood, cemented by the following short instrumental “A Distant Epitaph”.

The aforementioned “The Din of the Mourning” is other wise a winding, twisting number that has more in common  with Withdrawal, being the last pure black metal track on the album. “The Ones We Lost” seems a more personal track with a more morose undercurrent to the fervent assault. “Drown us With Greatness” gets the album’s stumbling mid tracks back on point with a straight forward, no nonsense tremolo picked assault. The album closes with one of the albums standouts in “Abject in Defeat”, with a really nice extended solo and a more melodic, yet melancholic mid section, that still has bite, but as it fades out you can almost feel a weight lifted from Grigg.

A fine comeback that has a definite aura of redemption, Hope Attrition should see Grigg and co back near the top of the USBM hierarchy, and hopefully we wont have to wait another 4 years for a follow up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 3rd, 2017


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    There were plenty of clean vocals on Quietly, Undramatically.

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