Hauntologist - Hollow review
03. Waves Of Concrete
08. Car Kruków
Do you ever think Mgła just isn't post-metal enough? Hauntologist are here to deliver that very premise.
Considering how celebrated Mgła's brand of melodic and nihilistic black metal became even out of an already well regarded Polish scene in the past two decades, it's no wonder that they'd also become quite an influential act. Influence can range from taking some cues to sounding nigh identical, with examples like Non Est Deus's Legacy and the entire existence of Groza being testaments to how much some bands and albums share their DNA with Mgła. It's a bit harder to put into words because what Mgła do isn't really that out of the ordinary for black metal, but when you hear it, it's unmistakably theirs. So with how much that sound became their trademark even when other bands attempt it, to have it be less eyebrow raising in hearing another band tackle a similar sound Hauntologist is actually comprised of Mgła members.
I don't like to overanalyze a band's lineup, but with this being a duo I think there's something very interesting at play here. See, this is the most classic case of a duo where you have a drummer and an everything-else-er. And while I said that both of them are Mgła, that isn't entirely true. Darkside, the drummer, is a Mgła member, and that's a huge benefit because of how much his drumming is not only a huge staple of that sound but his cymbal riding abilities especially are so notorious that I'd consider him in discussion for the best metal drummers period. But The Fall, the everything-else-er, is only a live bassist of Mgła, while also participating in a lot of adjacent bands like Medico Peste, Owls Woods Graves, and Over The Voids, so to hear him be able to ace that sound so well in terms of the guitars and vocals does make me wish he'd actually be involved in the songwriting whenever a new Mgła comes around.
And I mentioned how the direction is a bit more post-metal, and that "a bit" does differ from track to track. A lot of Hollow is still almost identical stylistically to a Mgła album, and doing a very good job at not only reproducing the sound but understanding how to make it as compelling as the real thing (which makes sense considering the lineup). But the bits and pieces of outside sounds do rear their head in the more the album goes on, from the ambient and spoken word of the "Waves Of Concrete" interlude that sound more like something that Agalloch would use as an interlude, to how the atmosphere of "Deathdreamer" eventually gives way to some post-metal melodies before the title track does away with the black metal entirely to create something akin to a more neofolky take on a Planning For Burial song. The melodies in "Gardermoen" also sound quite alien to the black metal and more like if Dordeduh tried to make a post-punk song, and the album ends with more post-rock spoken word in the closer, complete with some very odd instrumentation.
There's more to Hollow than just being a dose of Mgła until we get an actual Mgła album, and it does it's job of both acing that very specific black metal sound and doing some interesting things on its own to warrant me feeling a bit guilty for underutilizing the band's actual name in the review and just namedropping the "mother" band every other sentence.
|Written on 14.01.2024 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.
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