Vancouver has seemingly got the Canadian market cornered when it comes to sludgy hardcore, so I was somewhat surprised to see that this band hails from Montreal. And while the name Hopeless Youth recalls so many of the “youth-oriented” 80s hardcore outfits (Youth of Today, Youth Brigade, etc), their sound is much more aligned with the likes of Baptists or His Hero is Gone.
Unbeknownst to me, they released their debt on Candlelight a couple years back—it must have flown under my radar. But just a couple songs into this five track EP, and there’s no doubt that this is the good stuff, right here.
Devil, Walk with Me gets off to a slower start with the winding opening riffs of “The Garden” somewhat reminiscent of ISIS, until they pick up the pace to a vitriolic sludgecore assault. The title track gallops out of the gate, but it’s when they drop the tempo about a minute in that things really get moving. I’d put the ensuing sludge-metal breakdowns right up there with the likes of Eyehategod, although the effect is only temporary, as they hurtle towards the finish line at breakneck speed.
“Moon Child” is downright doomy off the get-go, a slice of smash ‘n grab sludge a la Sourvein. By contrast, “Light Bearer” goes straight for the jugular, a two-minute burst of frantic punk rock served up Discharge style. And after a drawn-out intro, “The Price to Pay” goes back on the attack with a mid-tempo, semi-metallic approach that reminds me of the Cro-Mags. You could break cement blocks with some of these breakdowns!