Try to picture the following scenario. A screaming, brutally abrasive vocalist leaves a grindcore, death metal/black metal, or metalcore band -- let's say, for the sake of argument, that he leaves Dark Funeral, Carcass, Rotten Sound, or Cannibal Corpse. Somehow, he ends up in a totally different band -- an alternative pop/rock outfit who can be as melodic, intricate, and complex as Radiohead. The singer still loves in-your-face screaming, but his new gig means that he will also have to deal with a lot of melody and provide his share of "normal" singing. Well, Hopesfall singer Jay Forrest isn't really an ex-member of Carcass or Cannibal Corpse, and Hopesfall is far from a carbon copy of Radiohead. But The Satellite Years does show listeners what can happen when grindcore-ish vocals meet up with the sort of melodic intricacy that Radiohead is known for. This is definitely an album of contrasts, and Hopesfall manages to make the disparate elements work well together -- Forrest's tortured screaming and the band's rich, elaborate melodies become strong allies who work together for the common good. Forrest, however, doesn't scream in agony 100 percent of the time; in fact, he's also quite effective when it comes to "normal" singing (whatever "normal" singing is). And like the other members of Hopesfall, Forrest has no problem thinking on his feet. This North Carolina band isn't afraid to change moods several times during the course of a song, but instead of sounding confused or unfocused, Hopesfall knows how to make contrasting elements equally valid parts of the overall picture. Hopesfall isn't the only alternative pop/rock band who favors a heaven/hell juxtaposition, but the southerners have their own way of doing it -- and their sense of adventure serves them well on this 2002 release.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson