Bart M. : The Benelux is no small player in the underground metal scene. Especially Belgium produces quite a few good, professional, heavy acts and the image of funny jokers that we (the Dutch) have of our southern neighbors is quickly turning into an image of utter black, soul shrinking rockers. Coming from Antwerp, a beautiful city that definitely also has its dilapidated areas (I mention this because I can imagine such neighborhoods have an influence on the music one creates), is Chief Roberts. The band is made out of people who already garnered experience in several other bands with different musical backgrounds and thus it comes as no surprise that Chief Roberts has its own sound that gives you the impression that they have been a collective for quite some time. In 2016 they released an EP entitled 'Preacher' and most songs on that album are quite short in length. It also has a very raw sound. The new album, 'The Hopeless', shows a clear transformation to a fuller, more complete sound and this album really sounds like a finished product.
As I mentioned, 'The Hopeless' is filled with a great number of different styles, but I think I am not far off when I state this is a combination of post metal and hardcore. And with that I mean the more advanced hardcore that for instance Converge plays. The music is solid, technically well put together and has enough variety to remain interesting and even groovy at times. Guy Callens' vocals, that connect with the music and the thematics both when he is screaming and when he is singing, sometimes sound a bit like Danzig and it is hard not to get goosebumps while hearing them. All in all the songs sound tragical but very powerful. Especially title track 'The Hopeless' needs to be mentioned: it starts out with a very catchy, mind-rending bit that evolves into a logical, quieter intermezzo, only to come back as hard as ever.
The songs on this album bear witness and give shape to feelings and emotions that are normally left unspoken and hidden, and they make these topics almost tangible. 'The Hopeless' is definitely worth checking out.