Artist: Hollow Front
Album: Homewrecker – EP
It hits your skull with a sickening smack—splintering into your frontal bone and shattering your calavaria before expanding in the gyri and sulci of your brain, devastating your ability to think, move, speak or hear. Everything light goes dark. Thoughts cease to spring forth—your brain reduced to pulp, with all the “gray” and “white” matter replaced with various shades of red.
While it is just as intense as a shotgun slug to the dome, it isn’t a bullet. It is the debut EP by Michigan metalcore outfit Hollow Front, titled Homewrecker.
A display of instrumentally savvy, brilliantly crafted and catchier-than-the-common-cold progressively inclined, ever so slightly djenty metal-turned-hardcore, Homewrecker is a tornado that rips through the listener’s mind; a perfectly placed bullet lodged firmly between their ears, reducing their cranium to crud. Megatons of murderous heaviness with just enough atmosphere and interspersed melody to allow it to float buoyantly into the listener’s head, Hollow Front capture intensity and energy in five tracks of furious, rip-roaring relentlessness, making them a breakout band that fans of all things heavy and groovy need to acquaint themselves with.
Sounding like a grittier and slightly thicker version of Structures, Hollow Front immediately grasp the listener’s attention with gyrating, grisly grooves that coat everything in an acrid layer of acidic, corrosive filth. Songs like the cut-throat “Caved In” showcase this better than most—because once guitarists Jordan Stewart and Evan Hall begin, there’s no stopping them. Throughout the entirety of Homewrecker, Stewart and Hall do just that; wreck everything within sight, oscillating between downtuned and dissonant grooves and sharp, skin-slicing leads—the latter reigning supreme on “Homewrecker” and “Lost Boy”–proving they are nothing, if not versatile. Where Stewart and Hall are intense and intimidating with their prowess (both with aggression and melody), they are built up tenfold by the efforts of Hollow Front’s fantastic percussionist, Cody Davis, who adds energetic fills and punchy, prominent patterns to every track. Davis’ footwork on “Caved In” is absolutely crushing—caving in the listener’s ribcage and obliterating their innards, while his work with bassist Chris Lake absolutely dominates on “Lost Boy,” which boasts a beefy low-end that defines the heavier moments of not just the track, but the EP as a whole. Hollow Front is a collection of incredibly talented musicians that makes crushing, cruel-and-unusual music that flows smoothly from moments of skull-cracking brutality to catchy and dynamic groove that has the listener bobbing their head one minute and dangling from it the next.
Where the muscular and prominent muzzle of Hollow Front’s ferocious, barking and beastial approach to metalcore finds its teeth, however, is through the voice and words of frontman Tyler Tate. Tate’s pointed, punctually pronounced syllables cut through the cavalcade of crushing instrumentation like a knife through thin, taut skin. “Lost Boy” sees Tate teaming up with Hunter Courtright, adding diversity to Homewrecker, whereas songs like the riotious “Caved In” and climactic closing number “Blackhole” see Tate letting it all hang out, holding nothing back in his efforts to completely oppress the listener with uncompromising emotion. Tate’s range—while somewhat limited in scope—is the perfect complement to both the music that supports him and his lyrical content; sturdy and unrelenting—if “Caved In” doesn’t exemplify that with both energy and eviscerating aggression, then surely the EP’s title track does, as Tate’s performance is nothing if not consistent.
Hollow Front—as corny as it sounds—are anything but hollow. Implying lack of substance or emptiness, instead, the band’s debut effort is a demonstrative and devastating display of downtuned and visceral aggression. From the crushing onslaught found within “Caved In” to the more diverse and full-bodied “Lost Boy” and “Homewrecker,” Hollow Front provide just as much variety as they do energy throughout the brief but blitzing release. With moments of grisly groove serving as body and “meat,” spacing out more ethereal moments of brief—but refreshing and invigorating—atmosphere, Homewrecker will dive into your head like a bullet but inflict as much damage as a full-fledged hurricane, leaving your insides exposed for the world to see.
For Fans Of: Vitja, Structures, Veil of Maya, Barrier
By: Connor Welsh