Album review: Our Hollow, Our Home – Hartsick
Release date: 3rd March 2017
Record label: (Self-released)
The metalcore sub-genre is rock n’ roll’s marmite. One of the newest movements in heavy music, its arrival in the mid-2000s caused a divide between metalheads that hadn’t been witnessed since the bygone and controversial nu metal days. And while metalcore seemed to peak between 2005 and 2008 with masterpieces like Killswitch Engage’s As Daylight Dies (2006), Bullet for My Valentine’s The Poison (2005) and Trivium’s Shogun (2008), it’s a movement that is still birthing new acts at an amazing rate: one of the most promising of which is British five-piece Our Hollow, Our Home.
An abrasive juggernaut from the streets of Southampton, Our Hollow, Our Home is one of the most enjoyably bi-polar acts when it comes to their approach to metal, as demonstrated by their upcoming debut album, Hartsick. The record alternates all over the heavy map with what feels like minimal effort, at times roaring aggressively at the world around it with Meshuggah-style belligerence and, at others, laying down fluttering, clean rock melodies that echo the likes of Wovenwar and Starset. Metalcore is a style that’s become renowned for its mix of brutality and harmony, but only very rarely has it been as overt as on Hartsick, or as well-crafted.
Our Hollow, Our Home refuses to adhere to the usual “harsh verse–clean chorus” archetype that dictates most metalcore, instead using the two dynamics whenever it is deemed appropriate, sometimes even going out of their way to bridge the gaps to avoid the two styles from being totally differentiated. On “Web Weaver”, for example, screaming frontman Connor Hallisey lays out his deep, resonating growls over what would otherwise be a tranquil, clean guitar sweep from six-string warriors Tobias Young and Josh White.
Toss in some chugging yet polyrhythmic axe-wielding as well as what may be the best screams of the year from Hallisey and enticing, Greg Pusciato-esque singing from Young, and the end result is an endlessly impressive metalcore banger that could one day see Our Hollow, Our Home challenge the likes of Bullet for My Valentine and Devil Wears Prada for dominance of their genre.
Final rating: Hartsick gets 8 flesh tunnels out of 10.
Hartsick will be available physically and digitally on 3rd March 2017.