Hollow may be their name but there is nothing hollow about their sound.
The Montreal, QC based symphonic black Metal band take further inspiration from death and thrash and the resultant sound is intense, dense and packed with excitement. In just five short years they have honed and developed their craft and 'Mordrake' is their debut full length, follow up to the band's 2010 EP 'Cynoptic Eschaton'.
It's pretty fair to say than every Metal influence is covered here in some capacity but what sets this quartet apart is their somewhat unique analogue approach towards extreme Metal. The band state that the album was recorded without the use of any triggers, midi or copy/paste editing, so that the album reflects the live performance but you notice that the finished result is still full and rich.
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Despite this apparently old school approach towards modern extreme Metal it still feels fresh and vibrant and much of the depth comes from the powerfully symphonic aspect, with a strong core of black Metal aesthetics with the further addition a progressive and a jazz edge, to call this release adventurous is an understatement.
The musicianship is superb across the release, great bass lines from Eddy "Snow" Levitsky, superb black 'n thrash style drum work from Blake "Blaac" Lemieux, ripping guitars from Dave "Cadaver" Gagné and this is capped off with the superb vocals from Jeff "Mott" Macdermott in both delivery and range; from vitriolic screams to deep gut wrenching growls, I found it hard to believe it was just one guy, he also does cleans that are crisp and powerful and even though I am not the biggest fan of cleans I can't deny these are good.
The album totals a generous fifty seven minutes and every track surpassed my expectation in content and delivery. The unique way that the all the elements are blended together seamlessly and to such great effect blew me away, needless to say I have no favourite track.
The hauntingly reflective opener on 'Lament Configuration' builds and partly prepares you for the excitement that follows, every track has that catchy memorable aspect, a little hook that sticks in your mind making it an addictive listen. I was surprised, purely from a point of curious interest, given that the band are from a French speaking part of Canada only 'Anomie' had French lyrics.
A couple of tracks meriting a specific mention are 'Hate' with an emerging black and thrash feel; the sound grows and bursts forth and is one of the more simple and raw tracks, by these guys standards anyhow, ripping seamlessly into manic symphonic segments, a great midway guitar segment with a strong technical feel, 'Birth' for being so superbly dark, 'Cryptic Howling' and 'A New Life' for the memorable guitar segments that emerge from amongst the blackened mayhem of their cores before plunging into the murky blackness again and the final track 'Death' which has an interesting jazz feel in places woven amongst the brutality.
The album was produced at Uplift Studios by Kevin Jardine(Slaves on Dope) and co-produced by Dan Lauzon (Entropy) and Hollow, the album Cover created by Malcolm Garn and the album Design by Eddy Levitsky.
'Mordrake' is a superbly crafted album and an exciting listen, so much so I can't even begin to imagine where these guys will go from here.