American Christian metalcore band, Convictions, have released their 3rd studio album called Hope for the Broken. Hope for the Broken was released on the 1st of June via InVogue Records.
Convictions formed in 2012 and quickly released their first record, I Am Nothing. Very soon afterwards though, their lead singer, Dan Gardner, and bassist Ian Reiter, left the band. Not deterred, Convictions brought in Michael Felker on vocals and John Fleischman on bass and released an EP called Unworthy. They really started to make a name for themselves with their second EP, Hallowed Spirit/Violent Divide in 2015 which debuted at number 6 on iTunes for top 100 metal albums.
Two guitarists came and left the band. First was Justin Michael McGough who left in 2014. His replacement, Thomas M. Silva left in 2016 and the band decided to stick with just one guitarist, founding member Josh Canode. The other original member, drummer Zach Schwochow, has been consistently in the band. With a settled 4 now, they attained a record label contract with InVogue and released their label debut, I Will Become, in 2016. That was the last we heard from Convictions until now with Hope for the Broken.
Hope for the Broken is 13 tracks and 44 minutes long and was a bit of a struggle to get through. The album starts off well enough with the atmospheric, Exodus, The End of Us. It is a short one that slow builds into a viciously heavy section with roared vocals. This leads directly into the second track, Deceptive Heart. A song that starts with a thumping riff but part way through there are some seriously questionable vocal tones. They stay heavy but become really high pitched. Kind of screeching but not in the black metal way, more nails on a chalkboard.
It’s a shame, and one that then plagues a lot of the album. I really like the idea of the different harsh tones in metal but this one is just a little off for me. Still, it isn’t always prominent and occasionally seems more refined so doesn’t hamper every track. Voices (They Want Me Dead) starts off with a catchy clean singing section before exploding into life. The track has solid riffs and blasting drum beats. Another enjoyable one is Reckless. A pretty basic metalcore song in structure but enjoyable.
It follows the pattern of big riffs, heavy verses and clean choruses but works well. There is a nice breakdown near the end to get heads banging before a brief slowdown brings back the chorus. The other stand out tracks on the album are the final two. The penultimate track is called Never Wanted It This Way and it’s really good. The structure of the track gets mix up a little with some excellent lead guitar lines. The whispered vocals at the beginning sound great and the heavy vocals that follow are probably the heaviest on the album.
The final track, the title track, sees more adventure as a piano joins the mix for a brief section in the middle and at the end. There is a pretty cool stop start riff as the track switches from aggressive to clean regularly. Again the lead guitars are prominent here playing some tight high toned melodies in and around the main riffs.
Many other songs kind of just tick the metalcore list of must haves without making much of an impact. Clean singing. Check. Breakdown. Check. Slow down sections. Check. Heavy verses. Check. This goes for Feel Alive, Divided, We Are Violence and False Witness. All perfectly okay songs but nothing memorable. There is a short instrumental near the end called Reverie which breaks up the album sound but has very little else going on in it.
There are two songs with guest musicians on them. The Storm Will Pass features Chris Roetter and To Sleep is to Feel features J.T. Woodruff. Neither song seems particularly elevated by the additions managing to once again be perfectly listenable but nothing that makes you instantly reach for that repeat button.
Hope for the Broken sounds a bit like a band that are still trying to find their feet. There is a lot of samey, generic, metalcore on the album and some questionable vocals. There are, however, little moments of ingenuity and a couple cracking tracks that show just what this band are capable of becoming. They just aren’t quite there yet.
You can pick up a copy of Hope for the Broken from In Vogue Records, here. It is also available on all the usual streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music. Or you can grab a copy of this and more from the Amazon links below. Find out more on the band at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following the links.
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Hope for the Broken by Convictions (InVogue Records)
The Final Score - 6/10