Sheer agonized and ghosting black metal drenched under the weight of its own wallowing sorrow, creating a crushing feeling of depressing oppression and truly living up to the name Hopeless. This is some serious end-times wrist slitting music-there's nothing but bleakness here and not a single glimmer of optimism. Even the feelings of regret shoved into this record reek of dismissal and failure, a picture of a life lived poorly, bereft of every good thing save memories of loss, disappointment and dead wishes. Yearning is transformed into lament and every desire becomes a taunting, choking piece of bile tossed back into the heart. This is someone's therapy and that feeling easily puts this record into a league with Lyrinx and Austere for me.
The sound is appropriately cavernous, with every instrument soaked in saturating, bloated reverb, creating a mountainous and distant sound. While this approach isn't new to suicidal BM, Hopeless certainly understands the atmosphere it's meant to create and exploits it to great effect. That distancing creates an extreme sense of dischord and hallucigenia in the listener, crafting an aura of unease throughout the album's runtime that's incredibly difficult to get past. This is a tense and volatile listening experience, not for faint ears or faint hearts. Like i said-wrist slitting music through and through.
Also at work is the standard Burzum-esque simplicity and repetition found at the heart of the best suicidal/depressive BM (which really isn't simple at all). Sound is layered and time is fucked with throughout, so guitars become hazes of washed out distortions and pianos become chiming bells tolling doom and end. Drums pound relentlessly and without variation, reinforcing the idea of waiting for death, the one wish that could possibly be granted by self-volition and willpower. The vocals are simply outstanding, hyper distorted and swirled in echo while being pushed way into the red and then buried. It's a superb and tortured performance that could only have been born of real and ample frustrations and while not the equal of Lyrinx or Make A Change...Kill Yourself, it certainly deserves a place in their company.
While the above comparisons are apt, perhaps the closest would be to Shining, as least in terms of aesthetic mission. While Hopeless aren't as near as complex or dissonant as Shining the emotions and intent seem almost exactly the same. Both projects are therapeutic for their creators, offering intensely personal takes on black metal that are meant more to exorcise personal sadnesses and angers than they are to appeal to the black metal audience at large. For that reason, in a lot of art, i find misunderstanding amongst many. For me it isn't worth a fuck if it isn't personal. There's a coterie of individuals who understand that and make art with that in mind, who have to do it because to not do it would be suicide. The power there is obvious-it's profoundly affecting and sometimes unnerving to digest-and it's waiting for those who would seek it out. Hopeless have made that sort of art with "Elements" and it awaits you in all its shrouding glory.