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Hostage - Memento Mori Award winner

Memento Mori
by Andrew Harvey at 25 January 2023, 5:29 AM

HOSTAGE are a four piece band coming from the region of Aachen in Germany and they have been on the scene in their home country since 2018 as they have released three singles over time including; “Game Over” in 2020, “Metamorph” in 2021 and “Break The Cycle” in 2022. It is said that they feel that “stylistic boundaries do not exist” and that “whether young or old, old or new school, headbanger or slam dancer - our songs speak to everyone” so there is no doubt that this four piece band will feel their music appeal to the masses, but they also feel they can’t be tied to one or two styles specifically. The band is led by vocalist NOAH MÜLLER who is very much the lead singer as vocals is also shared between MÜLLER and guitarist DAVID FUß as there is a second guitarist namely NICO RUDDIES but in the background bashing those drums is last but not least MARVIN RUDDIES.

Intro track is “The Swarm” as we begin to hear this debut album by the opening drum patterns that project so well and then vocal plus guitars follow on from there till a full on assault is inflicted by all instruments in this opening track. Double kick patterns can be heard as thrilling guitar riffs are so clear and then bass tone is defined by the low end punch of drums. Vocals are so filthy and just as wild and eccentric as they can be before we head into the next track which is “Cancer” as we continue to hear the earthquake of bass guitar and almighty drum breakdowns. Even the clean vocal line is heard as well as the more metalcore lead vocals simply carry on from where they left off from the previous track. Then the dialogue between both vocal lines is staggering, however what does stand out from this track is the bridge section where we hear whispering vocal lines, drums building a crescendo then smashed through by the drums supporting lead vocals.

A faster pace is what can be seen as the transition that brings in the next track which is “Vanitas” where we hear guitar harmonics ringing as more calmer drums are in play but the lead vocals do not hesitate in roaring like a lion as they have done so successfully. Even halfway through the track we hear the underbelly and metalcore madness well demonstrated by each instrument as this breakdown comes back a little later on with digital sound effects as well. So onwards onto the next track which is “Ark” which contains more mellow guitar at first reverberating, then a step up for drums to come crashing as they set up electric guitar to achieve higher notes that are very bright. Vocals are not as harsh as before they become more settled back and reserved yet we do hear small gasps of the meaner cunning vocal line, this heavier thicker vocal line then becomes more dominant in the second half of this track.

Electric guitar and drums take a section to themselves with vocals spilling all over the mix with the scarier and nastier toned vocal line. Now into the next track which is “Don’t Let Me Down” where guitar and vocals rampage through with drums kicking the track into life, as guitar picks it’s notes as drums plays along as vocal builds another crescendo with drums pulsating faster and faster. Then a climactic point of awesomeness is reached as the same crescendo is repeated as barking vocals are infested with angst and violence. All goes a little quieter then the electric guitar bursts into a solo with drums in support as vocals take their final breath. Straight into the next track “Fantasy” with an electro hardcore intro as guitar and drums spring into action as vocal harmonies can be also heard.

Lead vocals are initiated by the pounding of drums and guitar setting the tone for the track as we hear also the addition of bells chiming in the background. Towards the end almost quietness then drums and vocals give the short crescendo before guitars fight back as we head into the next track which is “Relapse” as we hear another short electronic blip of drums. Vocals trigger the rest of the band to bash through the walls of the audio spectrum, we also hear the difference of monstrous vocal parts and then higher pitched emo-hardcore styled vocal intuition. This stands out as the most appealing factor of this track, we go into the next track which is  “Curtain Fall” as there are more thrilling guitar riffs to start with as drums come in a less vigorous approach as we hear the bone crunching bass tone of the track and the richness of guitar. Vocals are guiding the narrative on each transition with guitar tone and then drums will simply adapt to the changes in tone and tempo.

The ending of this track is daring but very effective as well as the vocals project with a bell cymbal as we head into the next track which is “Rebellion”. This is one hell of a track as we hear also two guest appearances by musicians; HENNING WEHLAND and DAVE GAPPA as their contribution makes this track a pretty cool and well produced piece with heavy guitars aside from the astounding vocal lines even a hint of a rap-rock influence is clear. The backing instruments are superb and there is more to come in the next track which is “Break The Cycle”. Back to the main metalcore style we have heard throughout this album as guitars are divided into two different parts, one is more prolonged but cunning and the other is very boomy yet rhythmic keeping the tempo going.

Vocals again lead the pack through each phase of the track as does drums altering course for different sections where they have more of a discord and progressive approach.The next track is “Execution” as we hear an instrumental intro yet vocals do rise up as both electric guitar hovers on a more sustained note and drums are pulled back, not as active but still providing the backbeat with more smoother patterns. There is certainly a more classic alternative rock sound to this track, not as heavy, but still just as appealing, as we head into a short one minute track which is  “Hollow Earth”, as there is mostly spoken word whispering but there are more sound effects and electronic influences. “M.U.T.O.” begins with what we heard before electronic drums, but the hardcore vocals, damning drums and sustained guitars are also heard, the contribution of guest musician MARIUS WEDLER also makes a big impact.

“Game Over” also features a guest appearance by CHRISTOPHER WIECZORAK as the track has a soundscape intro with a siren in the distance as subtle, before guitars and drums enter the ring of fire burning with those heavier metalcore tones as vocals vary as always. There is much more variety in the vocal parts as we also hear higher pitched notes that hadn’t been heard before, so this stood out a lot more for sure. Finally into the last and grand finale of this album which is “Afterall” as we are getting more a mellow and rock ballad rhythm as the lyrics speak more of personal matters and meaning of life. So much to take from this last track and we have to admire the band for creating such a wonderful closure to this album, even a quieter section for vocals to echo on with the heavier, thicker screams and angelic nostalgia. This a very well thought out album, even though it is longer than usual with fifteen tracks, it hits the right notes and gives a lot to listen to with mostly metalcore influences, with some nu metal, progressive and emo-rock factors making this album a big hit, I look forward to hearing more from these guys, rock on as they say!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Swarm
2. Cancer
3. Vanitas
4. Ark
5. Don’t Let Me Down
6. Fantasy
7. Relapse
8. Curtain Fall
9. Rebellion (feat. Henning Wehland & Dave Gappa)
10. Break The Cycle
11. Execution
12. Hollow Earth
13. M.U.T.O (feat. Marius Wedler of ALLEVIATE)
14. Game Over (feat. Christopher Wieczorek)
15. Afterall
Noah Müller - Vocals
David Fuß - Vocals and Guitars
Nico Ruddies - Guitar
Marvin Ruddies - Drums
Record Label: SAOL Music


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