Lately, it seems like everybody wants to be in a metal band. There is an endless stream of new metal bands emerging onto the scene each year. This is possibly due to the internet being revolutionised in the past decade which allows bands to reach out to more people, be exposed to different music and be able to get their music to new people. So when I saw the review opportunity for Hollow Heart’s debut album The Seperation, I sighed a little and hoped that they would not be some regurgitated band trying to sound like the next Bring Me the Horizon or Bullet for My Valentine.
Suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised. From the first rapid burst of unclean vocals to the full-bodied, soaring clean vocals on the chorus, it is clear that Hollow Heart isn’t trying to emulate the latest trends. The tag-team vocal harmonies are supported by guitar riffs that would make Death Grip On Yesterday-era Atreyu proud. The uncleans swing from rapid bursts of hardcore-inspired vocals to more guttural and deathly screams while the clean vocals have a deep, melodic sound to them.
Hollow Heart greets you with the aggressive “The Honest, The Loyal”. This song demonstrates the relative ease that the band has in shifting from those rapid hardcore vocals to more drawn out and guttural false chord screams. They also demonstrate that they’re capable of writing songs that are a few levels above their fellow underdogs. Most newcomers write brutally blunt lyrics about hating someone or being heartbroken. That is all fine and dandy – if those weren’t the most clichéd lyrical topics in the book. Hollow Heart instead opts for lyrics that have a much richer imagery, such as “You’re always under my skin / Waiting for the walls to cave in.” Their lyrical content really reminds you of the topics that Atreyu dealt with in A Death Grip On Yesterday.
“Spitting Image” is one of my favourite songs on this album. It opens with a face-melting amount of shredding accompanied by a spot of fairly brilliant drumming. This bursts into brutal unclean vocals before the chorus kicks in and you have your ears caressed by painstakingly beautiful clean vocals. The lyrics seem to deal with being the same as somebody they really don’t want to be like, quite possibly a parental figure. The chorus delivers the poignant lyrics of “Every mirror in this house won’t lie to me / I’ll choke on doubt till I can’t breathe.”
Hollow Heart’s softer side comes out on “Skull and Steel” which is a touching acoustic-based song. I am rather a sucker for metal bands doing this as it shows a completely different side of them and also allows for a raw cathartic moment. From the get-go, this is a song that deals with life and death, mostly death actually: quite possibly the death, or loss, of somebody close to them. They delve into vivid imagery of “A beast of skull and steel / hungry for the kill” and “We’re all put through a grinder to see what we’re made of.”
Overall, The Seperation may not be anything incredibly unique but it is most definitely a strong debut album that will mark their place in the metal scene. It is full of anthems that are perfect for opening up a mosh pit or getting crowds to shout their favourite lyrics at the top of their lungs. Hollow Heart is a band that could possibly be on their way to taking a place as stalwarts within the metal scene.