Cope – The Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine will be the debut album for British hardcore band Cope, which will be formally released on May 22nd 2020. The band have been on the scene for a while, so this has been a long time coming for a lot of fans, but does it live up to the hype?

By Jane Howkins

The answer to that aforementioned question is generally yes, with The Shock Doctrine really packing in the musical punches across the 8 tracks on show here. It’s fairly short for an album release in the 21st century and only 2 of those tracks stray past the 4 minute mark, but we get the sense that Cope are interested in quality versus quantity, which is always a good thing!

For those unaware of the band, Cope are a hardcore band from London, however their music often has more in common with post-hardcore bands such as Alexisonfire, rather than the traditional hardcore punk bands of the 80s. Most of the vocals are screamed, but some tracks do contain a raw form of singing too, and we loved the change in dynamics that this created in tracks such as  I’m Alright Jack. 

A lot of the songs contain brutal riffs and vocals, but that’s not to say that Cope aren’t without a sense of melody. Gold opens with an interesting guitar line, before progressing into a frantic hardcore song that really gets the blood pumping. Whilst some people may be put off by the screaming, the chorus also contains harmonised vocals, adding something more to Cope’s music.

Most of the album contains typical post-hardcore tracks, but closing song Influenza changes things up a bit, with a breakdown in the middle of the song that leads to a killer guitar solo (something not often heard within this style of music) – whilst the band never stray too far from the genre definitions, it is nice to hear a band doing something a little bit different with their time. Territory Missing acts as a nice cleanse in pallet, with this song actually not containing any music at such – it’s more of an interlude, with what sounds like 1940s jazz music playing through the track.

The Shock Doctrine is an interesting album, and all in all seems like a satisfactory debut release for Cope. There isn’t really anything revolutionary about any of the tracks, but at the same time, Cope don’t really need to prove anything at this stage beyond them being capable musicians, which this album very much shows. Fans of the genre should enjoy this, and it will be interesting to see how their songwriting capabilities are expressed on future releases.