Discourage: Oakland Hardcore Group Returns with Purpose on “Forlorn Hope”

Photo: Veronika Reinert

Straight of the box, I will say that I am really excited about this new record from Discourage. I had their self-titled EP, and their split with FAIM and LIFT, but their newest release, Forlorn Hope, is dynamite. 

Discourage has a history of splits and two and three-song releases. Frequent “small” releases is a good model to follow for you newer bands reading this. It is catnip for lovers of 7 inches, like myself, because it makes for more things to collect.

My favorite past release from Discourage is the aforementioned 3-band split with FAIM (Denver) and LIFT (Connecticut). They also shared a split with Time and Pressure from my own hometown of St Louis. That being said, Forlorn Hope is their best work yet. 

Check out the title track below and hear for yourself:

A must for me is lyrics with substance that extends past the experiences of the singer. These days are too crucial to spend on dis tracks or lamenting a personal slight. There have been protests in the street every day since May 25th of this year, demanding accountability for police brutality. The clown at the top tried to suspend elections. There are kids in concentration camps. I dont want to fucking hear about some white dude “overcoming."

“Less evolved minds - fearing progression - cling to tradition
Try to stop the world from turning, keep us from growing
These enemies are really just symptoms of a disease
Outdated beliefs, ignorant teachings, a cyclical sickness” - from "Forlorn Hope"

I relate to these lines deeply. In 2020, we need systemic reforms so badly, but so many in the nation push back against what is just, merely because it would be different. I’m a Cold War kid who grew up with First Blood movies and textbooks that lie from omission.

Photo: Dan Gonyea

Out front, the vocals are righteous. The vocals have evolved into a ferocity that one cannot help but compare with Down to Nothing's David Wood. The bass is high in the mix...which I love (think NOMEANSNO “Wrong” or Take Offense “Peace in Death”). The record has great Discharge-type riffs; some lovely “creative” (weird) parts; and side-to-side breakdowns that will make you stomp to your bedroom wall and bounce off the drywall on your back before charging to the adjacent wall. All players bang their hearts out. 

People my age have been left to learn on our own time, then rebuke our own findings because it meant our parents were liars who supported policies that undermined their own childrens’ futures.

“And then we grow up not knowing that we're broken
Because we've been praised for being emotionally stunted
Irreparable harm done to ourselves and others
As the light within is repeatedly smothered” - from "The Curtain"

Lyrically, “The Curtain” is my favorite track on the EP. America is at this moment trying to deal with its own historical contradictions of slavery, colonialism, misogyny, and gender roles as heritage. In the 1990s, known as the 3rd Period of Reconstruction, was a big step forward that stopped at “I don’t see race” with a touch of “inequality is over, so walk it off/lean in." 

Photo: Dan Gonyea

The theocratic repression of the 1980s kept us restrained in the 1990s in a way that forbode embracing LGBTQ, People of Color, and women compassionately. It is now that we as Americans are being forced to deal with our biases. Truly, there is a mass movement yearning to right these wrongs, however these lyrics are still bold.  
Sonically, my jam on Forlorn Hope is “Snake Oil," but none of the four tracks are throwaways or set-killers. When we can finally hold shows again, this EP alone would make for a perfect set. 
Forlorn Hope is available for pre-sale now via Patient Zero Records.


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