Sunrise – Hope And Pray
Hope And Pray
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
After making a splash with 2010’s Trust Your Soul, the Ukraine’s most cheerful power metal foursome is on the path to a new album. As a result, we get the quick little three track (although the Metal Archives reflects four tracks and a couple of bonuses, the band only sent me three) EP Hope And Pray, released digitally on March 22nd.
I’ve often thought of Sunrise as being somewhat inconsistent. Trust Your Soul boasts a couple of cracking tracks, particularly with “All This Time” and “Man In The World”, but much of the rest of the cd is somewhat unexciting – and this is even more true of the debut, Liberty. Well, the good news is that Hope And Pray is a solid thirteen minutes of Sunrise at the top of their game, and if it’s any indication of what to expect from the band’s next studio release, fans are not going to be disappointed.
Konstantin Naumenko continues to grow as a vocalist. He’s strong, he’s stable, and even his diction is improving. As per usual, he carries the proceedings here quite proficiently, and the band around him does the same. Despite the arrangements being obviously vocal-centric, keyboards provide excellent support and guitar leads are hooky and essential to the formula as a whole.
While the titular opener is a guitar-heavy track, I anticipate that it’s the sandwich track, “Live In Peace”, that’s going to make most of the band’s fans jump up and down. This song pours on the speed and throws in the hookiest chorus on the EP to create a track that is absolutely charming. Closer “Take You High” is a poppy, bouncing, key-laden affair that, perhaps surprisingly, sits fairly well with me (probably because I have a high tolerance for cheese, and expect even more of it from this band). Make of it what you will. This song won’t sell anyone, but is quite enjoyable for fans.
Hope And Pray is a strong foot forwards towards future work, and if anyone was worried about Naumenko’s split attention (what with now singing at the front of Conquest and Majesty Of Revival as well), I’m here to quash those worries. This is a solid EP, and should get as much play as their previous studio albums. Here, if even for only three tracks, we get a look at the band at their most coherent and competent.
3.75 // 5