Our Hollow Our Home have been making a huge impression on the local metalcore scene. Their frequent gigs around the South Coast, including Portsmouth, Winchester, and a homecoming show at the Joiners in Southampton have caught the eye of Kerrang and Metal Hammer. After much anticipation, they will release their debut album Hartsick on 3rd March.
Metalcore has changed over the last few years. Although some bands have broadened their horizons and increased their audience (Bring Me the Horizon), others have tried unsuccessfully to stick to the same formula. Will Our Hollow Our Home’s debut push enough boundaries to help them stand out?
Before recording the album, the band experienced some personnel changes, with Bobby Brooks replacing Matthew Tub on bass. This change has led to a heavier feel, with two perfect examples being intro ‘The Sea Will Sleep’ and ‘Lone Shark’. The former contains a choppy distorted synth which transforms into a monstrous breakdown as unclean vocalist Connor Hallisey screams “In a world that refuses to open its eyes, will you remain blind?” He follows this up with a quick aggressive ‘blegh’ before the breakdown, which is sure to create numerous moshpits at their shows. ‘Lone Shark’ contains massive Killswitch Engage-esque riffs and an equally big chorus. Tobias Young’s clean vocals and Hallisey’s growls are perfect to kickstart the album because the energy is revved up to the max.
This successful transition is spread across the album. The clean vocals are balanced out with the screaming, and the passion is brought out in force. ‘Karmadillo’ is a brutal assault both lyrically and musically: “To think I once called you a friend, well I won’t make that mistake again / Just like an hourglass, your time is running out / You self centred misguided fuck.” The instrumentation is heavy and you can feel the passion that’s gone into making it.
On ‘Throne to the Wolves’, Tobias Young has really stepped up his game with some soaring clean vocals, enhancing the bands’ sound. This is backed by ambient textures, although I think the guitar could have been pushed higher in the mix.
It’s no bad thing, but a lot of the tracks on Hartsick sound very similar, the chugs and breakdowns can get repetitive. But the band is at their most adventurous on the two-part ‘Pride: Lioness’ and ‘ Pride: Of Might and Mane’. The former is a throwback to old-school metalcore with their own twist, while the latter contains a strong Architects influence. The production on these tracks is well balanced, the screams and cleans being mixed perfectly.
A personal highlight is when Hallisey screams: “This is a call to the wildness”, before a succession of angry breakdowns. This emphasises the album’s heaviness. The band’s lyrics and choruses also help them stand out. Previously evident on fan-favourite ‘Rest Assured’ they are catchy and powerful. An example of this is ‘Karmadillo’, as Young sings: “The lambs you lead to slaughter are now the wolves at your door”.
This anger and feeling of revenge is a common theme on the album. It is brought to life by the brutal instrumentation, while the listener feels the anger in Hallisey’s screams and the passion in Young and Josh White’s guitar playing.
Where does this leave Hartsick in the current climate? Well, it gives metalcore a big shot in the arm. The violent breakdowns and sincere lyrics bring out the best in Our Hollow Our Home, proving they are ones to watch in 2017.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos