REVIEW: Hollow Prophet – Hellhole [EP/2017]

Artist: Hollow Prophet 

Album: Hellhole – EP 


Every morning, millions of people tune in world-wide to their favorite preacher; priest, reverend or pastor. They open their ears—and their pockets—in the vein effort that they’ll be inspired with some paltry hope. Hope that maybe an hour of their time will make them a better person.  Hope that maybe things will get better. Hope that maybe, tomorrow, the world won’t be so bad.  

Their hope is misplaced. Every leader in every house of worship is one in the same: a Hollow Prophet. The harsh truth is that this world is descending into a state of disarray no deity can salvage.  

This world is becoming a Hellhole.  

That is the bleak overtone that defines the positively harrowing and hellacious experience that is the debut EP by relative deathcore supergroup, Hollow Prophet. With members of Within Destruction, Acrania, Slaughter to Prevail and Shadow Of Intent, Hollow Prophet bring influences from across the heavy music spectrum together to create one of the most eviscerating—albeit brief—experiences 2017 has in store.  

Hollow Prophet is a three-piece outfit from across the world hellbent on delivering nothing but the most absurd and relentless heaviness that one can fathom. From the opening, scorching seconds of “Infernal Cleansing,” this more than clear—as drummer Luka Vezzosi rampages across hit kit, defying boundaries blurred by “conventional” deathcore, death metal or slamming death metal varieties to create a platform of pissed, steam-rolling percussion throughout the entire adventure that is Hellhole. “Deluded Demon” is another excellent example of Vezzosi’s drumming (something most listeners should already have been exposed to in his primary project, Within Destruction). “Deluded Demon” sees Vezzosi utilizing everything in heavy music’s immense arsenal of styles to assault the listener. While Vezzosi’s skills set down a flashy and triumphant firmament that gives Hellhole the structure it needs to draw the listener in, guitarist Jack Simmons (the madman behind Acrania and Slaughter to Prevail) lays down riff after riff, groove after groove, and visceral, unstoppable slamming breakdown after slamming breakdown to reduce the listener’s innards to rubble. “Infernal Cleansing,” as well as “Conjuring of Impurity” highlight this with equal aptitude; in reality, all of Hellhole does—in four brief tracks, Simmons’ fretwork writhes, slices and shreds above Vezzosi’s drumming displaying moments of raw, metallic ruthlessness as well as –core driven, cruel heaviness that breaks every bone in the listener’s head with pure aural force. The duo deviantly and brilliantly intertwine intimidating and technical aspects of extreme metal with blunt, brutalizing elements of brash and brazen brutality to create an immersive experience for fans of all heavy music. 

The last piece to Hollow Prophet’s hellacious puzzle of punishing, prolapse inducing heaviness really doesn’t need an introduction. Frontman Ben Duerr has rapidly taken over the heavy music underground and even worked his way up into extreme metal’s higher echelons—but what’s most relevant is that, in spite of his relative fame, Duerr refuses to remain complacent, and every album or feature he appears on is a constant reminder of his dedication to constant improvement. This was true on the recent Shadow of Intent full-length release, his half-a-dozen features on tracks from bands worldwide, and now, Hellhole, where the listener gets to hear some of his finest work yet. There’s no point in picking out any given song above another, because Duerr raises hell with his voice and cadence on every track Hollow Prophet unleash with a nearly-unholy consistency and intensity. Ear-splitting highs, grisly, eviscerating bellows and everything in between, Duerr’s continued enhancement of his practically-legendary skills shines once more alongside Simmons and Vezzosi, helping Hollow Prophet’s Hellhole bridge the gap between brutal death metal, deathcore and something absurd and genre-defying altogether.  

Hellhole is a powerful and sincere testament to the state of our world and the state of heavy music. For the former, things have never been more bleak or dismal—deserving of the dirge-like atmosphere and abysmal heaviness Hollow Prophet unleash. The latter, however, is more uplifting—as since its first hay day in the late 2000s, raw and raunchy deathcore has never been more alive, and Hollow Prophet are but one band that exemplify this (albeit, one of the best). Taking contemporary elements of slam and brutal death metal and adding to a traditional deathcore backbone—then just adding silly amounts of talent—the band make something special, slamming and sure to define the back-half of 2017 for many.  



For Fans Of: Acrania, I, Detest, I, Valiance, Infant Annihilator, Cattle Decapitation, Within Destruction,  

By: Connor Welsh