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MNRVA – Hollow

MNRVA
Hollow
by Oli Gonzalez at 25 April 2022, 5:44 AM

Describing themselves as a doom fuzz band that does not readily fit into any genre but is constantly heavy, my interest was peaked! Especially as I do have a soft spot for stoner and doom. Overall, this really was an enjoyable listen! “Not The One” was a huge start to the album, with some equally huge sounding guitar and bass tones. Nothing slick or fancy, just hard hitting riffs! I’m surprised they could get that heaviness as a power trio! Just shows that less is sometimes more. That trend continues in “With Fire”, with a few chromatic bass and guitar runs just to spice things up a bit. Up until this point, I’m beginning to find the vocals very interesting. That gruff and harsh yet listenable vibe. Not quite metal, not quite grunge, not quite rock, a duck billed platypus of genres mixed into the vocal layers there.

I’m really enjoying the more melodic shoe gaze vibe in ”Third Eye”, especially with that blazing guitar solo in the middle! The band know how to imprint a song into your subconscious mind, especially by repeating the songs title repeatedly in such a catchy manner. I couldn’t help but find myself headbanging along to the album’s title track “Hollow”. Honestly, those doom heavy stoner riffs are infectious, and there’s yet another equally tasty guitar solo. The band slow the pace down to a glacial drip and crank up the heaviness in “Befall”. Just when I was starting to wonder if the album was getting a little repetitive! Again, I found the vocals very interesting. Some of bands would have had a much heavier growling guttural tone, and it would work perfectly. But I admire how MNRVA maintain what feels to be a much more ‘radio friendly’ tone. Just when I thought the guitars couldn’t get any better. The solo to close the song is an absolute scorcher. Again, no glitz or glamour, prioritizing tone, emotion, and feeling over needless speed and complexity. That feels like the crescendo and highlight to the whole song, with a slow yet clever build up.

The opening to “Black Sky” features possibly one of the lowest frequency bass recordings known to man! Gnarly! If I had to be picky, I think they could have dragged that out a bit more, and build some suspense and anticipation. As much as I love doom and the stoner, I did start to wonder if the album was getting a little too repetitive towards the end. I’m sure there were other things the band could have down to add variety. There’s so many admirable things here, especially for a stoner/doom aficionado like myself. But there’s only so many times you can listen to the same distorted riffs, vocals and guitars. Maybe a synth, backing track to break things up? The production is slightly raw and retrograde, but this suits the style of the music. Overall, this has done justice to the band and will serve them well in building their identity. A solid platform for future releases!

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

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Not The One
2. With Fire
3. Third Eye
4. Hollow
5. Befall
6. Black Sky
7. No Solution
8. The Way
Lineup:
Byron – Guitar/Vocals
Kevin – Bass/Vocals
Gina – Drums
Record Label: Black Doomba Records
     


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