Our Hollow, Our Home. Get used to hearing that name, because this South Coast UK band is about to cement themselves in amongst some of the most solid metalcore acts out there with their debut album Hartsick. The album gives off a very distinct wildlife vibe, the cover depicting a deer skull and almost all of the song names referencing an animal of some kind, which is a nice stylistic choice given the contrast between heavy music like this and the gentle appearance yet fierce nature of the wilderness.
Intro track 'The Sea Will Sleep' opens with mystical synths that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Bring Me The Horizon's 'Sempiternal' album, before the growling vocals of Connor Hallisey fill the air like a collosal titan alongside crashing cymbals and pounding guitar leading into 'Lone Shark', a song filled with emotion and strong choruses backed by devastatingly heavy verses, this is where the band prove they have what it takes to make an impact on their listeners. Lyrically the song is about continuing on after the loss of another, something a lot of people are going to connect with immediately, Lone Shark would almost certainly be a tearjerker for some fans if included as part of their live sets.
Track three, ‘Throne To The Wolves’, was released back in early 2016, and rightly so as it's one of the most standout songs on the whole album, blurring the lines between beautiful melody and mosh enciting metalcore, with soulful guitar work alongside some absolutely incredible clean vocals from Tobias Young, the accent on his voice is a big part of what helps set this band apart from a lot of other bands in this genre. The same can be said for ‘Worms Wood’, which was also released as a single back in November of 2016, which dives straight with double bass pedal and high pitched guitar, and another brutal assault of growls from Connor.
This brings us through to title track Hartsick, and the Hollow are showing no signs of backing down on song quality. Although it does contains some cliché lyrics about not being alone, something so many bands have tackled in their lyrics, it certainly doesn't do the song any injustice. This title track is bound to have fans screaming it back at the band at live shows, passionate and heartfelt with easily memorable lyrics, Our Hollow, Our Home have proven they are very well in touch with the metalcore formula.
‘Feast For The Crows’ and ‘Karmadillo’ are more of the same, and have also received the single treatment prior to the release of the album. Not to say that these songs aren't both great, because they are, but the album is starting to get quite familiar now, in that it never seems to stray from this formula. There are no distinctive moments that allow you to definitively say 'oh I see, this is the sad song on the album' or 'this one is definitely the heaviest track on the album' it's all starting to sound a bit samey (although whether this is an issue or not really depends on how much you love metalcore).
That is until we hit our next song, ‘The Wild Will Wait’, which is more of an interlude, completely instrumental and sounding like it came straight from an epic battle scene in a blockbuster movie. We are then presented with two songs connected by name; ‘Pride – Lieoness’ and ‘Pride – Of Might And Mane’. The growls Connor gives us on Of Might And Mane are some of the strongest and most devastating on the whole album, whereas Lieoness focuses a bit more on the cleans from Tobias, which offers a nice juxtaposition from each other definitely worth hearing in the intended listening order..
The last songs on the album, Web Weaver and Fox Blood (interluded by another instrumental track, The Forest Will Fall) are a little weaker than the songs before them, but all in all this is a truly solid album, and based on this release alone, Our Hollow, Our Home are strong contenders for the next band to reach larger success in the heavy music scene. Watch out for them climbing up the festival bills sometime soon.