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Hollow Hour - Till The Grey Skies Are Gone review


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Band: Hollow Hour
Album: Till The Grey Skies Are Gone
Release date: January 2023

01. I Am No God
02. I Got The Knife
03. Cipher
04. Deafening
05. Ember
06. The Canyon
07. Summer Sun
08. Gemini
09. The Mirage
10. Neon

One thing I’ve learned since the start of the pandemic is that, if a progressive metal band shares a name with a song by a metal band I like, I am immediately compelled to check them out. This approach could well cause me disappointment one day, particularly since there’s no guarantee that said band is even named after said song, but after two hits already, it’s now three out of three thanks to Hollow Hour.

In a past life, Hollow Hour went by Mosaik; there’s no reason whatsoever for me to have confidence that the new name is in any way linked to Rolo Tomassi’s masterpiece “The Hollow Hour”, apart from the fact that this song was released prior to the name change and both bands are located somewhat close to one another on the great big music map of the world. In saying that, Hollow Hour don’t sound like Rolo Tomassi; there’s no mathcore, as this is very much a djenty alt/prog record, but like Rolo Tomassi, this is a band that values emotionality in their music, as there is a lot of passionate feelings bleeding throughout Till The Grey Skies Are Gone, their debut album.

Probably the most obvious band to pick as a point of reference for Hollow Hour is Vola, plus perhaps Feather Mountain, and not just because all three bands are Danish; both of those groups have earned nominations in our Djent/Math category in the past couple of years, but like both bands, while djent is clearly a significant component in Till The Grey Skies Are Gone, Hollow Hour have far more in their arsenal than crunchy polyrhythms. I’d say these guys deviate from Vola in having slightly less whimsy and a greater degree of melancholia, as this is a record that wears its heart on its sleeve with quite a few of its songs. Additionally, vocalist Jonas Høyrup Larsen’s singing style and the alt-metal leanings of this album take Hollow Hour closer to bands such as Fair To Midland and Chevelle at times (Larsen also follows Vola’s example in opting for an all-sung approach, a relative rarity in the djent scene).

I’m conscious in writing this review that, if one single user of this site was prone to enjoying Till The Grey Skies Are Gone, it is me, but I have already become quite fond of this album. From the off, that (somewhat Gojira-esque) tapping lead, slick rhythm and honey-sweet singing performance on opener “I Am No God” is right up my street, particularly its big-sounding (and very Vola-esque) chorus. It’s a song that starts of feeling relatively straightforward, but brings the complex djent crunch later on; other songs here fluctuate in how much they draw from the djent, alt-metal and progressive wells. On the one hand, you have the immediate accessibility of the gentle “I Got The Knife” and its sad-yet-uplifting central chorus hook, while on the other hand, “Ember” (which is comfortably the most blatantly Vola-influenced song) starts off simple enough, but brings the heaviness and complexity later on. Both ends of the spectrum can be similarly compelling, and the sheer majesty of “Ember” summarizes the strengths of Hollow Hour, both soft and heavy, quite wonderfully.

Not all songs on this record will necessarily appeal to everyone; for me, the breezy sing-along that is “The Canyon” doesn’t quite do it for me, while the chorus in “Deafening” feels slightly out of place when set against the persistent intensity running through the rest of this track. Overall, though, I’m finding there to be a lot to enjoy in Till The Grey Skies Are Gone. On top of the tracks I’ve already highlighted, “Summer Sun” shows off a more muscular form of alt-metal, with heaviness alongside a fairly streamlined structure, but the warmth of the chorus takes the track to victory, while “Gemini”, despite the chorus perhaps being a bit out of place, has a moodiness lurking beneath its bouncing grooves that’s right up my alley. Last but not least is closer “Neon”, an incredibly tender song that forgoes heaviness for the most part in favour of achingly touching singing, the end result being rivalled only by “Ember” as the record’s best song.

There’s rough edges to Till The Grey Skies Are Gone, but that’s to be expected from a debut, and it does far more right than it does wrong. Vola perhaps paved the way for others, but while Denmark has never been a bustling hive of activity on the metal front compared with its neighbours, there do seem to be a few bands emerging that are putting together some seriously solid emotionally-charged prog, and having very much enjoyed both Feather Mountain and now Hollow Hour, long may it continue.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 02.02.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 1   Visited by: 78 users
03.02.2023 - 14:12
JoHn DoE

I've listened to it just once, good album, needs more listens to sink in properly.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.

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