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Naberus - Hollow Award winner

by Jon Conant at 09 July 2018, 10:20 AM

NABERUS is back with their 2nd full length effort, and like any Australian band worth their weight in djent, they bring a wild blend of whacky, groovy, melodic, and heavy. “Hollow” is a bonafide full length, delivering a whopping 14 tracks of melodic metalcore and djenty goodness. The length of the album is unfortunately its downfall at times, as some of the middle and later tracks sputter a bit. The music isn’t ever bad. It just becomes derivative and overstaying its welcome without enough variety, and 14 songs is a lot of songs in generally the same style. I think it would have maybe benefited them to trim out some of the weaker tracks, particularly between 9-13, to maybe bring down the album length just a little bit. But, at the same time, the music is never bad. So, as long as you’re not getting bored, there’s still tons to love. There’s everything you could want, from breakdowns and djent, to punk/thrash rap metal, to intricate and exciting melodic lines and clean vocals.

I love the modern sound they’re bringing, it’s djent and metalcore through and through but with a ton of thrash and MDM influences. This brings out a very melodic side, and oftentimes up tempo rap metal type vibe, which is usefully very tastefully interspersed into songs and doesn’t outweigh the heavy breakdowns or djenty riffs. The clean vocals are maybe the most suspect part of the album, but for me that’s mostly just about the yelling sometimes off-pitch style not contrasting well with some of the heavier moments in the music. The vocals are for the most part outstandingly well done, and when they bring the harsh vocals, they are epic.

Tracks 1-5 are the strongest part of the album. Opener “Slaves” immediately is djenty and heavy, but with a distinct thrash and up tempo groove, as well as a pretty traditional chorus with vocals reminiscent of BRING ME THE HORIZON, which is something you will hear a lot of with NABERUS. This sets the stage perfectly for the heavier and djentier entry in slot 2, “Space To Breathe”, exhibiting some of the variety we get to hear throughout the album (not enough to make up for being 14 songs long though). “Space To Breathe” also brings out an amazing MDM vibe with a really cool and atmospheric lead guitar line carrying the weight of the main riff. Track 3 “Split in Two” brings an epic combination of djent and rap metal vocals, that somehow some way sounds fresh in 2018. Track 4 “Shadows” hits with some of the heaviest and darkest breakdowns and vocals of the album, the harsh vocals during the verses are fucking badass.

Track 5 “Webs” locks into an epic groove reminiscent of something from AFTER THE BURIAL. The album is nonstop action all the way through this point, and it’s fucking great. After that, that drop-off does start to appear a bit more as the album chugs on through it’s 14 track duration, and more and more songs start to sound similar, and mostly without ever matching the intensity and original feel of songs 1-5. Track 6 and lead single/title track "Hollow" gets an honorable mention as well because it is obviously their pride and joy with a strong anti-religious stance, so that's cool. Another notable track I also loved was track 8 “The End”, which took a distinctly different and more melodic vibe that sounded really neat. It was much more traditional metal sounding, with the metalcore and djent taking a slight backseat. Writing more songs like this would add a lot more variety and make a 14-track length more reasonable.

However, they did make the classy move of saving arguably their best song for last. Closer “The Depths” absolutely locks into a heavy and groove djent sound with a bunch more of those AFTER THE BURIAL vibes. However, the last 3rd of the track then falls off into a beautiful and epic melodic section, with some of my favorite harsh AND clean vocals on the album. The track caps off with 15 more seconds of the main djenty riff, and it wraps up the album on a very strong note. It’s a perfect closer in every way, delivering all the best parts of what NABERUS has to offer, providing texture and layer, epic and emotional highs, and reminding everyone what they can deliver before the album ends.

All said and done, while it’s long and there are definitely weaker moments, there’s a SHIT TON of good music here that is definitely worth checking out. And even though the meddler in me wishes they’d have trimmed the length and allowed the songest songs to shine cohesively without being weighed down, it’s a slammer of an album. I’m definitely stoked to see what these crazy Aussies do next.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Slaves
2. Space To Breathe
3. Split In Two
4. Shadows
5. Webs
6. Hollow
7. I Disappear
8. The End
9. Seas Of Red
10. The Maze
11. My Favorite Memory
12. Fading
13. The Burrow
14. The Depths
James Ash - Vocals
Dan Ralph - Guitars
Dante Thomson - Guitars
Jordan Mitchell - Bass
Chris Sheppard - Drums
Record Label: Eclipse Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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