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Hollow Haze - Between Wild Landscapes and Deep Blue Seas

Hollow Haze
Between Wild Landscapes and Deep Blue Seas
by Chris Hawkins at 19 August 2019, 7:48 PM

HOLLOW HAZE is a four-piece from Vicenza, Italy that has just released their seventh full-length, “Between Wild Landscapes and Deep Blue Seas,” via Frontiers Records.  Over the years, the band has had multiple lineup changes; however, guitarist and founding member Nick Savio has remained the one constant.  The band has a new drummer, Paolo Caridi and vocalist, Fabio D.  In fact, Fabio Lione of ANGRA and TURRILI/LIONE RHAPSODY sang on the band’s 2013 release, “Countdown to Revenge”.  The band has been labeled as Progressive Metal but after diving deep into the album, it seems more appropriate to classify them as Melodic Modern Metal, a point which will be further elaborated upon.

The album kicks off with the track, “Destinations”.  It is immediately noticeable how stout the sound is with a raucous riff doubled by a very prominent keyboard.  As the song progresses, it becomes clear that this is very much a Modern Metal sound rather than Progressive Metal.  In other words, the sound has more in common with that of WITHIN TEMPTATION or BATTLE BEAST than SYMPHONY X or OPETH.  That isn’t meant as a detriment to the band, but after seeing them described as Progressive Metal, it seems best to inform the public about the reality of the band’s sound.

There is certainly a wealth of talent at work here as it is no easy chore to compose infectious, ear-friendly songs such as these.  “New Era,” the seventh track, features a solid groove accented by thick keyboards.  The following track, “A Different Sky,” is a mid-paced affair with chunky guitars and plenty of catchy vocal hooks.  The band definitely knows how to let a chorus truly open up with a huge expanse.  The solo is challenging, tasteful, and melodic with a soulful decadence.

To say the production is slick is quite the understatement.  A sound this huge is destined for radio play (in an ideal world, that is).  Thankfully, the guitar sound, though processed, is still up front, powerful, and articulate.  The double bass shines when in the spotlight often echoing back to classic Power Metal bands from Italy.  The vocals, very much in the center of the mix, are extremely melodic if not a bit saccharine in parts.

Other highlights include the ninth track, “Resurrection” and the tenth, “You’re My End and My Beginning”.  The solo toward the end of “Resurrection” is short yet very emotive conveying a deep sense of feeling with just a few notes.  “You’re My End and My Beginning” features a bass line during the verse that is quite powerful with a dirty edge that still retains a smooth feel throughout.

To sum things up, despite this not necessarily being my go-to style, as a musician, I can appreciate the wealth of talent featured on this record.  It is the guitar work that is the show stealer. The tasteful approach to the solos is worth much adulation and commendation as the notes are never rushed with each passage played being very deliberate and soulful.  Those with a taste for super-slick Modern Melodic Metal will most certainly appreciate and gravitate toward this.  Personally, though, I’m off to crank some DARKTHRONE and LEVIATHAN to redeem myself to the Dark Lord.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 6



3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Destinations
2. Oblivion
3. It’s Always Dark Before the Dawn
4. Through Space and Time
5. I Will Be There
6. The Upside Down
7. New Era
8. A Different Sky
9. Resurrection
10. You’re My End and My Beginning
11. Behind the Wall

Lineup:
Nick Savio – Guitars
Dave Cestaro – Bass
Paolo Caridi - Drums
Fabio D. – Vocals

Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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