The Hope Conspiracy

Death Knows Your Name

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Stalwarts of the Boston hardcore scene, the Hope Conspiracy have never had much truck with the self-consciously "street" aspect that's been a key component of Masspunk since the Rat's heyday back in the late '70s. Their first album following an extended layoff, Death Knows Your Name shows the band continuing on their own idiosyncratic path: not emo, despite the angsty lyrics favored by singer Kevin Baker, since even at his most emotionally pained ("A Darkness in the Light" this time out), he sounds like he'd kick in the teeth of anyone who looked at him cross-eyed. Yet the band is too varied and melodically acute to be ghettoized as post-hardcore or any other deliberately limited subgenre, and new second guitarist Tim Cossar only adds to the album's musical interest, adding honest-to-goodness Big Rock Solos to "Animal Farm" and "Stolen Days." Balancing a new structural maturity and epic scope with the aggression that's always been there, Death Knows Your Name suggests that the time off did the Hope Conspiracy good.

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