“We drove these streets, heads to shoulders…”
After 21 years, this landmark album from a well-respected band in the post-hardcore scene stateside, Hopesfall recently remixed and remastered their sophomore effort The Satellite Years with enough polish that it sounds like an album from present time. The credit all goes to Mike Watts, who also worked with bands like Glassjaw, The Dillinger Escape Plan and all of Hopesfall’s albums after The Satellite Years.
Andromeda, the first track (and instrumental), kicks it into high gear with their space rock influences worn well on their sleeves. If you go back and forth with the original recording – done back in 2002 – you will notice a slight difference in loudness especially on all instruments and the main vocals. Like everything is clearer compared to the slightly muffled sound 21 years ago. And oh boy it does shine through!
Then the snare shot (thanks, Adam Morgan) that introduces Waitress comes in and all instruments meld in one groove which leads to vocalist Jay Forrest’s screams marching the beat on. You can hear enunciations within the harshness but here’s the catch – the background vocals (assumedly from their bassist Chad Waldrup) are far back in the mix at some points (on other tracks too) as a result of the remixing process. That is the only noticeable gripe so far. The clean vocals on this track, as well as other tracks, flow seamlessly. This continues on with the rest of the tracks on the album.
Dead in Magazines and Dana Walker deliver as intended while Decoys in Curves is a prime example of a track that has been balanced in the mix on all fronts. You can hear the tiniest details show up and end up slack jawed at the level of production made back then that just resurfaced today.
A Man Exits continues the nostalgia of the old days with the balance of riffs and ambience, which then “shifts” to the next instrumental filler Redshift, which takes the listener to outer space with their beautiful yet intricate melodies and a steady beat to accompany.
It then goes back to noise territory with Only The Clouds pummeling the listener with riffs and then dives to a Hum-esque section after a minute and then all throughout the song until guitarists (Ryan Parrish and Josh Brigham) solo out this sombre melody until the track’s end. Mentioning Hum at this point should be important since the initial producer was Matt Talbot, who fronted Hum, and they are a huge influence with the sound Hopesfall showcased from this album and on their future releases. Talbot also contributed background vocals on the next track Escape Pod For Intangibles, funnily enough because of a bet.
The last track, and also undisputed fan favorite The Bending closes this album out. This song encompasses the sum total that is the new Hopesfall sound. A true departure from their aural beginnings and the template to which they’re playing off of on future releases.
All in all, this remixed and remastered version of The Satellite Years keeps up with their last three releases in terms of recording quality and offers a purview of what Hopesfall truly has to offer. A classic in its own right, made almost picture perfect. With the resurgence of this album, they truly now are “revolving around the tips of their listeners’ tongues.”
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