Hell Is For The Hopeful


“Hell Is For The Hopeful” is a good Thrash Metal album with some Death Metal twists, cool guitar riffs, strong basslines, and excellent drumming
July 8, 2024

CRUCIFER were formed in 1990 and they are from Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Death/Thrash Metal outfit were active from 1990 to 1996, and then from 2022 onwards. After releasing two EPs and two full-length albums, their third album “Hell Is For The Hopeful” is the first release since 1994. The album has a length of about 46 minutes, and it was released via Spanish label Pathologically Explicit Recordings, which has many brutal Death Metal and Grindcore bands among their current roster.

Thirty years after their release “Separation”, CRUCIFER are back in business with “Hell Is For The Hopeful”. The album starts with the fast “Soul Within”. After a short spoken-word pre-lude, devastating guitar riffing and crunching basslines take over. It is a song with grim melodies and Thrash Metal inspired riffing and drumming. However, there are a few Death Metal twists present, such as the short blast-beat thunderstorm halfway through the track. The vocals are harsh around the medium end of the vocal range with some tonal shifts and a few growls at times. Altogether, it is a very strong opening track. “Green With Envy” continues with the Thrash Metal attack at almost the same pace. The riffing is tight, direct, and aggressive, while the permanent double-bass drumming is relentless. The track includes a few Heavy Metal vibes occasionally. “Deity In Black” is a mid-tempo track and the double-bass assault continues. The vocals have a higher modulation for most of the time. The melodic framework is chilling, in particular during the break. “Deity In Black” is a fine Thrash song, and it was uploaded to YouTube by the band with the link being provided below. “Arbeit Macht Frei“ is an expression that has been used cynically by the German Nazis above the entrances of their concentration camps, literally it means “Work sets you free”. It is another mid-tempo track and highlight is the contributing lead guitar solo.

One feature of the album is that most tracks start with a cinematic, spoken-word pre-lude that seamlessly transitions into the main track. “Vainglory is no different and the guitar riffing is thunderous at a measured tempo and a head-banging rhythm. The track focusses on delivering a grim atmosphere. “Pearls Before Swine“ is a mid-tempo track with direct and aggressive riffing, a lot of double-bass drumming and a few atmospheric effects in the background. While the spoken-word part is kept short at the beginning of the track, it re-appears during the break leading to a short lead guitar solo. “Sickly Divine” has a powerful start at a measured tempo. The riffing is again thunderous, and the melodies are catchy. The verse parts are made for head-banging, while the chorus vocal lines are almost anthemic. Highlight of the track is the short but contributing lead guitar solo. Sickly Divine” is one of my favorite album tracks. “Laughing As I Suffer” is another mid-tempo track with simple and tight riffing. The melodic framework including the vocal melodies are quite monotone, but this is the strength of the song. The chorus vocal lines are sing-alongs, and the track includes another cool lead guitar solo.

Beneficence In Grace” starts with a short drum solo leading into another track with powerful riffing at a measured tempo. The melodies are grim and intensified by background atmospheric effects. There are a few twists towards mid-tempo throughout the track, which makes it all more interesting to listen to. After a few slower or mid-tempo tracks, it is time for something faster and “Vamachara” delivers exactly that. It is not the fastest album track however, it is a dynamic track and includes a few Death Metal twists. The riffing is simple, direct, and aggressive and the drumming includes a lot of double-bass and a few blast-beats. Highlight is the contributing lead guitar solo. “Bury The Breathless” is another atmospheric track with crushing riffing at mid-tempo. There are many twists and turns in tempo and rhythm, all around mid-tempo, and that gives the track an extra layer. Highlight of the track is the comprehensive drumming. The album finishes with the GARY NUMAN cover of “Airlane”, which does not come very unexpectedly as CRUCIFER experimented a bit with the sound throughout the second half of the album. However, I would have liked a crushing end to the album.

CRUCIFER deliver a good Thrash Metal album with some Death Metal twists. “Hell Is For The Hopeful” is a good mixture of cool guitar riffing, strong basslines, and excellent drumming. However, it is also an album of two halves. While the first half of the album is very dynamic and versatile, the second half is repetitive at times. The album is well produced. Thrash/Death Metal fans will surely dig the album and look forward to seeing CRUCIFER live on stage.

8 / 10









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"Hell Is For The Hopeful" Track-listing:
  1. Soul Within
  2. Green With Envy
  3. Deity In Black  
  4. Arbeit Macht Frei
  5. Vainglory
  6. Pearls Before Swine
  7. Sickly Divine
  8. Laughing As I Suffer
  9. Beneficence In Grace
  10. Vamachara
  11. Bury The Breathless
  12. Airlane (GARY NUMAN cover)
Crucifer Lineup:

Brian Ronquest Guitars, Vocals

Jeff Riddle – Vocals, Drums

Steve Snider Bass, Vocals

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