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Lower Hollow – Bloom & Expire

Lower Hollow
Bloom & Expire
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 23 May 2023, 4:33 AM

From Bandcamp, “South African five-piece LOWER HOLLOW see the light of somewhat darker times with their debut single “Living Ghosts,” a sledgehammer beating at the heels of fast hardcore, melodic broodiness and heavy lows. Comprising of South African metal royalty, LOWER HOLLOW cut their teeth behind closed doors during COVID refining a new sound and a viable source of top-tier intensity and energy. LOWER HOLLOW’s debut album “Bloom & Expire” was released on March 31, 2023 via Mongrel Records.”

“Desolate” is the first track; a short mood-setter. The mood is dark and brooding with soft piano notes that are quite pretty. “Vacant Hell” is the first proper song. It’s a short three minutes but is packed with horrid harsh vocals and a very depressive feeling. Still, there are nice melodies here and there. It sounds like Metalcore to me. “Samsara” is another short song with a similar pace, riffing pattern, and vocals. If nothing else, the band could take some cues and change the pace so that the songs don’t sound too close to one another.

“Eyes Wide Shut” has some variation in the music and the vocals. Besides the fronted screams which are quite ardent, there are also some spoken words, and the music also has some nice melodies. “Living Ghosts” is a single that encapsulates the band’s sound pretty well. There is a heavy and aggressive backbone, and the harsh vocalist can belt. You can hear snippets of melody that if the band just let ride out a bit longer, would really enhance their sound. “Age of Apathy” is barely two-and-a-half minutes. The riffing is energetic, and the drummer puts in overtime on the skins. The clean vocals in the chorus however are just a bit pitchy.

“Waves of Tragedy” is a nice break from the constant harsh vocals forward sound. It’s instrumental, and has mellow, melodic tones. This song shows promise for the band in this element of songwriting. The title track closes the album, and it’s perhaps the most well put together song on the album, in terms of the balance between hardened, aggressive notes, and melodic ones. Occupying that slim space somewhere in between Metalcore and Melodic Hardcore, this is a promising debut from the South African quintet. They have the harsh elements down just fine but could use a little work on the development of more melodies. But it is a good release as is, and all the band can do from here is go upwards.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Desolate
2. Vacant Hell
3. Samsara
4. Eyes Wide Shut
5. Noose with a Name
6. Living Ghosts
7. Age of Apathy
8. Waves of Tragedy
9. I am Empty
10. Bloom & Expire
Estian Smith
Sean Gaisford
Kyle Robertson
Chad Smit
Ashley De Beer
Record Label: Mongrel Records


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