Album Review – Hartsick by Our Hollow Our Home (Self Released)

Southampton based metalcore band, Our Hollow, Our Home have released their debut album. That album is called Hartsick and it was released on the 3rd of March. Our Hollow, Our Home are an independent band. Based on this album, that has to be by their own choice as I imagine they have labels queueing up and begging them to sign.

The South Coast band have been making waves and gathering a small army of supporters since releasing their debut EP called Redefine. That was back in 2015. In the meantime, fans have been able to get their teeth into new singles as the band have released them but it is this album they have all been waiting for.

Our Hollow, Our Home consists of Connor Hallisey on vocals and Tobias Young who is the second vocalist and guitar player. Josh White is also on guitars, Bobby Brooks looks after the bass and Nick Taliadoros looks after the drums.

Hartsick

So, Our Hollow, Our Home describe themselves as melodic metalcore. We are talking brutal breakdowns, blast beats, screams, death metal roars but coupled with clean singing, melodic guitar lines and layered vocals. They are also happy to chuck extras in the mix such as piano intros, whenever they feel it is suited. All of this excites me. See, I would probably have been uncertain about any band claiming to be metalcore until While She Sleeps happened to show me a different side to it. They opened my eyes to a more melodic, complex and creative side of metalcore. One that used pianos and harmonising and things that weren’t seen as standard in an often generic genre. To hear that Our Hollow, Our Home are also looking to push boundaries gives me reason for optimism.

That optimism is raised higher after the album intro, The Sea Will Sleep. It is just a minute and a half long and you will start to think it is all going to be made up of some minor effects over an 80’s serial killer theme music. Suddenly, and viciously a heavily distorted guitar explodes into life with one drawn out chord. Then drums join, the guitar switches to a fast line and furiously angry metal vocals roar into life for a few short lines. We then get a small breakdown before it starts fading out.

It is a very clever way to announce yourself. It fades out as the second track, Loneshark fades in making it feel like a bigger single track. Loneshark is a really melodic song starting with a very clean, high pitched guitar line. Clean vocals set us off over a thumping bass and drum beat. The heavy vocals soon become the more prominent again as the drums roll along like explosions in the background. The choruses switch to clean singing and there are sections where the different vocal styles trade off with each other to great effect.

Hartsick

The speed of the riffing and drums is impressive and the perfectly timed switches of vocals style are worth gushing over. As the song nears the end, it drops into a beautiful acoustic section with single guitar notes ringing out and a gentler drum beat, through to the end. There is so much melody and so much rhythm packed into each song, it is quite a treat for the ears. The piano intro of Throne to the Wolves is brilliant as is the fast picked intro at the start of Hartsick, the title track.

Songs like Hartsick, Karmadillo and Feast for the Crows really pack a punch as the heavier side of the band. Hartsick has brutal vocals, spat out at speed over a really catchy riff. There are still clean sung vocals but they are backed by Connor’s roars giving them a layered feeling. It has a catchy chorus and even find time to move into a gentle, melodic section near the end before building back up into the infectious chorus. Feast for the Crows is absolutely brutal at the beginning. There are huge roars, thumping drums and a chugging bass. It is really heavy. We get a little neat guitar line, before a cleanly sung chorus and it ends with a huge breakdown and deafening roar.

Karmadillo is sickeningly fast and really showcases Nick Taliadoros’ skills on the drums. Again there are clean vocals in the chorus, which is another catchy one. The verses container machine gun drums, heavy distorted guitars and vocals that are aggressively spat out at pace. It ends with an absolutely huge roar.

Aside from the heaviness there is so much happening on Hartsick. Each track has a strong identity – it never sounds too samey. Worms Wood is jam packed full of riffs and rhythm and has a catchy, almost pop like chorus. The Wild Will Wait has a bit of sampling over drums that sound like tribal music before a clean melodic line starts playing on the guitar. It is another short interlude but another brilliant one that goes from gentle to heavy around half way through. Web Weaver has a heavy start, gentle verses and vocals that trade off between clean and guttural. Web Weaver’s main guitar riff is brilliant and again, it has a great chorus.

Hartsick

The double header of Pride: Lieoness and Pride: Of Might & Mane showcase the bands many influences and willingness to borrow cleverly from genres around them. Lieoness has a very clean sound mixed with moments of heaviness. It is a quick song, predominantly cleanly sung but there are plenty of riffs and roars thrown in to. Of Might & Mane is the opposite, starting off with a brutal roar and heavy breakdown. There are loads of clever and technical guitar lines and melodies. There are moments of clean singing mixed in and loads of layered, harmonised vocals. Sometimes though, there is so much going on, it can be feel a little fuzzy.

That happens for little moments on a few songs but never for long. There is always a strong riff, or drum fill or guitar line or roar that pulls everything back in line when it appears to be threatening to go off the rails.

The final track on the album is preceded by a short musical interlude called The Forest Will Fall. It exists purely to trick you into a false sense of calm before the last song starts. Foxblood has a heavy intro but with a clean guitar line over a chugging guitar line. It is clever and the roared vocals over the clean guitar line and intermittent drum beat sounds awesome. The song kicks in proper with an exceptional riff, blisteringly fast drumming and heavy vocals. Clean choruses give you a second or two to breath though the pace doesn’t drop. There is a beautiful orchestral melody brought in before the song enters a heavy breakdown. It fades from here and closes the album.

Hartsick

It is a great way to close too. Giving us that orchestral melody over the heavier vocals just rams home how these aren’t just a rigid metalcore band. You even get an acoustic version of Throne to the Wolves. This is a bonus track, and it’s a nice take on the song. As far as debuts go, it is as strong an album as you could hope for. The effort they have put in on this album gives the impression of a band who have been around for many, many years. Not a band pushing out a debut. That is really commendable.

These guys have immense talent and a clear vision. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with if they can continue to put songs like this together and I see no reason why they won’t. I will be listening to Hartsick for a long time and look forward to hearing more from this band.

The UK metal scene is very strong at the moment. Our Hollow Our Home have just made it even stronger.

Hartsick is available to buy directly from Our Hollow Our Home from here. You can also pick it up, along with their back catalogue from Bandcamp. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on them and their future releases too.

Hartsick
  • 9/10
    The Final Score - 9/10
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