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HolloW: Mordrake

It's odd how many albums I've heard lately that have these little straying keyboard parts. This album, Hollow's full-length debut, is no exception; alongside the death metal onslaught of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, there are these almost-twinkling keyboard parts that reach out for occasional attention. There are also these bold and dynamic orchestral and vocal passages lurking in the background, adding another layer of musical depth to things.

At first, I didn't know what to do with these extra bursts of sound. Hollow is an extreme metal band that could hold its own with some of the most brutal bands active today. So what are we to make of these additional parts? Honestly: nothing. Some listeners, like me, may feel surprised, but should quickly acclimate to the larger project here. Yes, things go a little too far at times; "Snow," for example, was a bit too far out of the extreme mode for my tastes. The rest of the album, however, sticks pretty close to the plan and keeps things interesting from start to finish. Like so many other bands, Hollow is playing with the genre. Fortunately, they seem to have what it takes to draw everything together into a convincing musical offering.

I was especially impressed with two things: the guitar parts and the recording. No slight to the rest of the musicians here; those were just the things that stood out to me the most. As for the guitars, Cadaver plays with smoothness and clarity. Any of the tracks here would serve as good examples of what he can do. I'd suggest checking out his playing on "A New Life" or "Landscape." His melodic lines and solos are consistently strong and interesting. At times, I even felt like I was enjoying an earlier generation of metal, the kind where we spoke of shredding solos and fancy techniques. Cadaver's got the goods.

I was also impressed with the recording process on this one. Not only do things sound crisp, the music was recorded without the typical digital technology so common these days. Instead, the band put off triggers, midi, cut / paste, etc. and captured something closer to a live performance than most of us are used to on recordings lately.

My advice: check this one out.

Track Listing:
1. Lament Configuration
2. Cryptic Howling
3. A New Life
4. Landscape
5. Iscariot
6. Sunriser
7. Vlad
8. Anomie
9. Snow
10. Birth
11. Hate
12. Death

Added: June 5th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2306
Language: english

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