Artist: Our Hollow Our Home
Have you ever been shoreside for a huge storm? I’m not talking about a drizzle and some wind–I’m talking about the sky darkening and turning that ominous shade of green that signifies one of mother nature’s nastiest fits. The wind picks up; moderate at first but increasingly more severe. With each cannon-like roar of thunder and sharp crack of lightning, the seed of fear in your gut blossoms into full-on terror. But you can’t bring yourself to move your feet—your jaw stays slack and your eyes widen. You’re mesmerized, because while it’s horrifying, it’s also…beautiful.
That’s kind of like what listening to Southampton metalcore act Our Hollow, Our Home is like.
Defined by moments of soul-shaking heaviness in sharp contrast against moments of nearly divine atmosphere and melody, Hartsick is a heavenly display of true mastery of modern metalcore. With segments that fit on every square inch of the continuum ranging from complete oppression to captivating and pure beauty, Hartsick is moving both physically and spiritually—as in listeners will find their souls and spirits elevated while simultaneously finding themselves unable to stand still.
From the first tremendous grooves of “The Sea Will Sleep,” Our Hollow Our Home prove themselves to be anything but hollow, and relentless enough to bring the listener’s house crashing down. Built on a bustling and quick foundation of Nick Taliadoros’ titanic drumming, Hartsick is both hellish and heavenly. Songs like “Feast For the Crows” feature breakdowns and groove-tinted riffs that are positively unstoppable—with Taliadoros’ percussion leading the charge into complete and crushing annihilation. Meanwhile, more anthemic and melodically infused songs “Karmadillo” and “Fox Blood” see Taliadoros working with assistance from bassist Bobby Brooks, who adds beef and thickness to Taliadoros’ thudding kick drum while serving as a mellow, groovy firmament to anchor the more atmospheric leads and moments from guitarists Josh White and Tobias Young to the ground. White and Young are a force in their own right—with “Lone Shark” and the proggy, gyrating leads in “The Sea Will Sleep” proving that with ease; but this is especially true when their powers combine with Brooks’ boisterous bass and Taliadoros’ explosive and energetic drumming. Together, the band are instrumentally busier than most in their genre, capturing moments of glacial calm similar to Invent, Animate, yet refrains and ravaging breakdowns that get people as riled-up as more metallic acts like Fit for a King or After the Burial. Our Hollow, Our Home use thirteen tracks to demonstrate the full arsenal of their instrumental variety, and they do it in a second-to-none fashion.
Where Our Hollow, Our Home’s instrumental aspect is far from a standard heavy/soft dynamic, their vocal element is slightly more traditional—but folly on the person who mistakes “traditional” for “boring.” Frontman Connor Hallisey—assisted by guitarist Young—is practically peerless, with visceral, bellowing screams and growls that border on prolapse-inducing, contrasted with shrill, ear-splitting shrieks and moderate-yet-meaty and abrasive mid-range yells that serve as a solid mainstay for his vocal arsenal. From “The Sea Will Sleep” through the catchy and quick (and lyrically poignant) “Feast for the Crows,” Hallisey’s voice is the perfect compliment to his lyrical content—emotionally driven and engaging. Hallisey’s sharp, slicing screams are soothed by Young’s intermittent moments of vocal softness and cleanly crooned choruses and bridges; this is true In “Lone Shark” and “Throne to the Wolves” especially, where segments of ear-catching clean vocals define the more memorable moments the respective tracks, staying stuck in the listener’s head with ease. “Worm’s Wood” is another brilliant example of the band’s vocal dynamic: starting with a series of high screams and low bellows that are otherworldly but rapidly morphing into a heavy/soft juggernaut with cleanly sung segments that are second to none when it comes to catchiness, clashing head-on with Hallisey’s low, lurid and languishing growls beautifully. When it comes to the lyrics throughout Hartsick, however, not many moments do it better than the entirety of “Feast for the Crows.” From the brilliant adaptation of a Winston Churchill quote to the absurdly catchy clean vocals towards the end, every syllable of this track—and most of the album by extension—is, simply put, top notch in a fashion that won’t even make you feel bad for having it stuck on repeat in your head.
Where there will boundlessly be those who call for the “death of the heavy/soft dynamic” in 2017, Our Hollow, Our Home give them a brilliant reason to hold their tongues. Our Hollow, Our Home skyrocket themselves into an echelon shared by artists like Architects and Invent, Animate when it comes to their use of abrasive and smooth, serene elements in juxtaposition; more than just another cookie-cutter “heavy breakdown/clean vocal chorus” band, but as group that ebbs and flows like a crashing tidal wave that segues into a soft lapping of more melodic elements and cleanly crooned elements. With ruthless heaviness, fast-paced grooves and jaw-dropping moments of beauty all in one release, all occurring as naturally as the sun setting and the moon rising, Hartsick is a heavenly experience for fans of anything with even a dash of –core influence, as Our Hollow, Our Home are bound to make a home in the listener’s heavily-played and frequented albums rotation.
For Fans Of: Architects, Veil of Maya, Invent, Animate, Northlane, Bayharbour
By: Connor Welsh