Australian death metal may be a hot topic right now, but the Oceanian continent has yet to see many black metal bands (other than perhaps Woods of Desolation) crawl up from out of the underworld. Brisbane newcomer HOPE DRONE is in a position to change that status with its distinctive blend of dense atmospheres and withering, spacious blackness. Formed in 2011 by guitarists Karl Hartwig and Christopher Rowden, drummer Francis Kell, and bassist Aaron “Peege” Pickersgill, the band burst onto the scene with its 2013 self-titled EP, which was hailed by Cvlt Nation as “fresh, invigorating, and compelling” and called “possibly the most devastatingly nihilistic recording I’ve ever heard” by Angry Metal Guy.
After supporting acts like Neurosis, Deafheaven, Caspian, and Rosetta in Australia, HOPE DRONE recorded its sophomore record, again employing the talents of engineer Christopher Brownbill (who also produced the band’s debut). The band has stated that it aims for HOPE DRONE to serve as an outlet for personal catharsis that musically focuses on atmosphere, and their 2015 Relapse debut Cloak of Ash more than fulfills those goals. Cloak of Ash is an unrelenting and calculated 80minute monster that will undoubtedly put listeners to the test, but, like all the bestdesigned challenges, rewards those intrepid fans that brave its drawnout melancholy. HOPE DRONE’s music may seem hopeless on the surface, but the band’s despondency is relatable and undiluted, breathing light into an otherwise bleak landscape. A monumental debut, Cloak of Ash has already seen coverage from platforms like Decibel and Sputnikmusic, and stands to see HOPE DRONE cement itself as one of the forerunners of modern Australian black metal.
Chris Rowden (Guitar, Vocals)
Karl Hartwig (Guitar, Noise)
Aaron Pickersgill (Bass)
Francis Keil (Drums)