Forlorn Hope – Over the Hills

Band: Forlorn Hope
Album: Over The Hills
Release Date: 26th July 2019
Record Label: Unsigned

The first time I heard about Forlorn Hope was when they were announced for Power Metal Quest Fest III. I unfortunately seemed to miss the album release when Over The Hills came out in July. Their performance opening Power Metal Quest Fest solidified the fact that I definitely needed to check this album out.

There is a short Introduction which has some distortion in the guitars, at mid-tempo suitable for a head nod. As the intro carries on, it gets a more triumphant feel until it seamlessly leads into Vive l’empereur. The vocal recording sounds great, and the mid-tempo continues, getting heavier as the track continues. The track has a darker feel to it, which leads you to think the French are the enemies!

Onto what is definitely a track I will always return to, Rifles is a great catchy tune with a gallop (get out those invisible horses!). And of course, the great line that everyone who has seen Forlorn Hope will know: “Raise your fist! 95th!”. Talavera is a fast paced track which is energetic and prime for a good headbanging, and this track in particular has some great guitar soloing.

War in the Shadows has a more sinister and darker feel to it that the previous tracks, with a lower tone and more aggressive guitar. It’s time for power fists and headbanging for this track. The Eagle Hunters has the almost obligatory gallop in the drum and guitar. Honestly, The Eagle Hunters is not my favourite track, but I can see the appeal to other fans of power and heavy metal.

Back to hard, fast and heavy, Die Hard brings us more power fists and chants with the title, and is great audience participation when live. Badajoz begins as a ballad. There are ethereal keys, and calm vocals, it’s a (proven) track for lighters and phone lights in the air. That is, until the full band kicks in and it’s almost worthy of a pit with the pace and guitar distortion.

Back to triumph and gallops, Man of Secrets, Man of Honour brings back what seems to be the Forlorn Hope’s signature sound. It is definitely not a bad sound, I love it! This track is mid-paced but perfectly catchy and bouncey. Masterstrike has a mix of tempos, with a faster pace for power fists and headbanging. The pre-chorus is slower and lighter, but for the most part it’s hard hitting and the drums are heavy and rolling.

Vitoria brings synth keys for the intro, with guitars then taking over the melody. It’s a track that builds up the tension, but again, for my personal taste, it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me, but it’s not a track I would automatically skip. An absolute treat for the Sharpe fans, Forlorn Hope’s cover of the Sharpe theme mixes a trad tune with the composition of Tams, and Forlorn Hope have added their own mark on it. It was a no-brainer to cover this track. Chris’ vocals definitely do this justice.

A final (bonus) track, Forlorn Hope is an easy going, mid-tempo, power metal track, but of course, there is a “Forlorn Hope!” chant. I really enjoy this track, and let’s be honest, can you really call yourself a power/heavy metal band if you don’t write a song that has the same title as the band name?

After seeing Forlorn Hope Live twice in a short space of time, and listening to this album, I am definitely a fan, and I will be making the effort to see these guys live again in the future. It would be wrong to compare them to Sellsword (Unto The Breach review here), even if they are in the same kind of genre and theme. Chris (vocals, rhythm guitar) is a Peninsula War enthusiast, and you can definitely hear that in the lyrics. I have even learned a bit of history, including what a “Forlorn Hope” is! Forlorn Hope have their own sound, and it’s damn good. I’m hoping to hear a lot more from the band in the future, and I wish them the best of luck for going far in their music careers!

Forlorn Hope – Rifles

Verdict: 8.5/10

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