“I feel that I’m going ’round in circles
Trying navigate the progress that I’ve made
And it seems I’ve made a map, but lost my compass
Found my sight, but lost my focus
The never-ending cycle starts again
Again and again and again”
2021 has been a great year for the heavy music scene in the UK just it just seems to get better and better. Big hitters such as Architects and While She Sleeps offering some great slabs of modern heavy music. However I read that one band, Our Hollow, Our Home were also due a new release this year. I had only heard a few songs from previous albums but loved the balance they created between brutal breakdowns and ferocious guttural vocals interplaying with raw emotion and beautiful clean heartfelt vocals.Done with their close to home lyrics on loss and relationships I felt this the perfect album to dissect for my first posted review.
Our Hollow, Our Home are a five piece melodic metalcore band from Southampton, Hampshire, England. The band is composed of lead vocalist Connor Hallisey, guitarist and singer Tobias Young, guitarist Josh White, bassist Bobby Brooks, and drummer Nicholas Taliadoros.
I’m always a firm believer in “Where words fail music speaks” as a mantra. Usually I can find some solace in music.
Opener and title track Burn In The Flood gets the album under way with a ferocious high intensity. The opening riff that just seems to cut through the track’s initial atmospheric intro suggests that this song has something about it right from the offset. This band are the perfect combination of anthemic arena ready metalcore and vocally there is a masterclass in switching between growling screams of the verses to soothing choruses, that detail overcoming adversity and how to fight through what seems to be an often-overwhelming situation, as vocalist Tobias Young melodically sings “Let this rain crash down and wash all over me/Let it soak into my bones, just let it take a hold of me/There’s a fire in your eyes tells me I am not enough”. Wow. This was telling me exactly how I was feeling a few months prior. Uncanny but true. As an opener to an album, Burn In The Flood does a great job of showcasing electronic elements,vocal interplay and soul searching lyrics so we could be on to truly special.
The next track “Failsafe” is follows a similar formula in terms of the music with some stellar musicianship with soul searching lyrics and yet again I find myself relating to these. It’s like a conversation I had with myself so many times over last 12-18 months. Particular resonance was felt during the chorus “ I just wanna feel like I’m not broken
Like I’m just wasting my time
Cause I’m starting to believe this dream’s a fantasy
That I’ve built up in my mind, it’s got me feeling like
Everyday my head is a battlefield
Both sides waging war on how I’m supposed to feel
I just wanna feel like I’m not broken
Like I’m just wasting, I’m just wasting my time.”
Next up is a song called “In Introspect” which dealing with grieving which again I have had to do this year but the songwriter is further down that road that mine as talking about 3 years on in the lyrics. This song starts was brutal introduction with guttural vocals almost ordering you to listen to what the band are trying to say. Lyrics that stood out here for me were. “Coming round from a coma, when I wasn’t asleep
Ask myself what the hell happened to the person I used to be
Things have changed on the outside, why am I stuck looking in?” It’s like Tobias and the Our Hollow,Our Home boys had been living in my head this last 12 months or so. There is so much raw emotion in this song I can feel their pain and suffering like it were my own.
“If you’ve ever been in a relationship that was so wrong for you, but you were completely blind to it at that point in time, then this song is for you. Coming to terms with those feelings can feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, but the weight that it lifts from your shoulders can be really cathartic, and letting go isn’t just the fairest thing for you as an individual, but for the other person involved too.”Tobias Young on “Monarch”
“Monarch” is up next and knock me down with a feather this could have easier been detailing my past relationship almost to the letter. I read Tobias taking about this track which I quote above and he has nailed it. Sometimes you are so wrapped in the toxicity you don’t see what is slowly draining everything from you. Musically this song is pretty awesome with some two-step riffs and some syncopation. It’s an absolute banging tune and again the vocal interplay of Connor and Tobias is a delight. Some truly inspirational lyrics here too and I’m sure anyone who has been in a toxic relationship could relate. “Blacked out in the river, and I’m still drowning in the promises I know I can’t deliver
I never meant to be a sinner, but I lose myself through the cracks in mirror
If you need peace of mind, just have a little piece of mine
Cause I’m lost out here to the void of time, you’ve all left me behind”
Track 5 is entitled “Better Daze” and this sees the music become slightly more upbeat but in a delicate tentative way but there is something about this track that has a sort of feel good factor. You feel a sense of optimism when listening and I know for a fact I when I listen to this a smile is etched upon my face like the good times are just around the corner. Tobias vocally here is top notch with some lovely cleans with Connor delivering some brutal injections. Lovely stuff. I challenge anyone to listen to this without feeling a sense of joy and bounce that I never thought I’d feel from this genre of metal. “I’m alive, and that’s okay
‘Cause we’ve been holding on for the better daze
So we wait for the rain to wash us away
We could start a brand new chapter
I just pray that my hopes and dreams
Don’t become the things that only could’ve been
I guess it plays on my mind from time to time
But I think I’ll be alright.” There is such a feeling of triumph about the delivery of these vocals that can’t help but be bristling with pride that you’ve overcome the challenges in your life that we’re holding you back.
“Nerv” is the next song on the album and for some reason I don’t feel this song at all. I find it is the weakest song on the album. It just seems to go past in a blur with leaving any footprints on my heart at all. There’s nothing really wrong with the song but it just seems to lack the cohesion of the songs gone before and the songs which unfold afterwards. There is a guest vocalist slot on this song from ThisCityIsOurs vocalist Oli Duncanson.
A blistering attack on your senses is probably the best way to describe the next track that is cleverly titled “Overcast”The intro is pummelling and relentless before Connor’s harsh vocals start talking to your soul in a way to confront your problems in a aggressive forceful yet encouraging way. Which is the message of this song for men to not to be ashamed to ask for some support if they feel they are in a situation that they are struggling with. Believe me when I say that it’s actually empowering being able to talk things through with someone (thanks Suzanne ❤️) Connor’s vocal attack in the opening verse is highlighted in the below “How long to free my mind, find clearer skies ahead,
If every cloud has a silver lining, then by now I should be dead,
Hey, hey, you better give up the ghost before it’s too late,
But it’s much easier to wallow in modest misery,
Hey, hey, where’s your self-worth?
Bout 40,000 fathoms deep buried in dirt.” Almost immediately Tobias replies to this in what I believe to be the most poignant chorus on the album. There is a delicate vulnerability in Tobias’s delivery here. It was like he had ripped my heart right out as I heard this for the first time and even on subsequent listens I feel so much emotion. It’s a good reminder that no one should need to bottle up feelings and how the current perception of male mental health is them to just “Man Up” but this is as toxic as it is dangerous as witnessed by the amount of suicides in young men these days. Lyrics of the chorus below : “I’ve been coming apart at the seams
Losing track of everything that matters to me
Never did I think I’d become so hollow
I’m not okay, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow
It’s overcast, guess I’m back here again
‘Cause the black clouds overhead just never seem to end
But have peace of mind, in time I’ll be fine
With or without you.”
The 8th track on this brilliant album is “Remember Me” and this has another guest vocalist for a segment. Ryo Kinoshita from Japanese band Crystal Lake so this makes for what seems like an testosterone fueled aggression exercise with again some beautiful cleans from Tobias. I firmly believe that the song will help people who are struggling. It reads from the perspective of someone who is struggling day to day and even contemplating ending everything but is given the opportunity to hear their eulogy and this gives them the hope and strength to push through to get the help needed. “Every second feels like a stalemate
And every movement feels like a mile
Swear I’m screaming out, why’s no one listening?
Can I just be happy for a little while? It’s all getting too much to carry, it’s all getting too much to bear
And I’ve never felt more alone, does anybody care? Can someone tell me how to live like I’m not dying?
‘Cause I’m so afraid to die alone
Now that I can feel the pressure rising
I cannot afford to lose control
I just need to know that you’re still with me
‘Cause I couldn’t bear to let you go
Time is short and life is, oh, so fleeting
And in the end, we’re all just dust and whispers in the wind, I’m so sick of this goddamn anxiety
I swear this isn’t how it’s supposed to be
Another victim of a broken society
I just need help” Whilst I never quite as low as some of these lyrics I can certainly feel the torment and struggle that’s being talked about.
“Children Of Manus” is track 9 and it’s a good track with some really low guttural vocals and a particularly eerie twangy intro that builds the suspense ahead of the first vocal assault. Also lead to believe there is another guest vocalist on this track. Lochie Keogh from Alpha Wolf lends their vocals to this track. Not a band I am really familiar with other than I know they are from Australia and the scene there is buzzing right now. The theme is be who you want to be and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being you. Well that’s what I got from it. I don’t dislike this song but in the same breath I’m not really sure if I actually like it either. Just doesn’t have the same instantaneous resonance as other songs. “And now I’m nothing but a shadow of my former self
You just can’t fathom how it feels to wanna be someone else. I’m done, feeling like I don’t belong. I’ll take my place as the heir to this hollow throne, Still made from blood and bone.”
Penultimate track is “Blood” which again the boys are talking to my soul with the lyrics here. This is all about giving someone all you can but still they want more from you and even if you managed to give them that extra it still wouldn’t be enough. I know that feeling only too well sadly. Unfortunately when you are in this situation you end up forgoing your own needs and ultimately make yourself riddled with guilt that you haven’t done enough to help. Musically this song is as close to ballad you’ll find on a metalcore recording and it seems almost radio friendly and you’ll find this in your head for days especially if the lyrics resonate. Brilliant. “If I could take myself away from the flood
And bring back every person we’ve ever loved and lost
Then I would give my blood, give you every little thing I’ve got
To rewrite your history ’cause I’m with you, just don’t forget me”
Album closes with “Seven Years (Shine a Light on Me)” which is an awesome ending to this album with a great video. Starts with Connor and Tobias trading off vocals in both the opening verse and the chorus. Lyrics here deal with forming unhealthy habits and not realising the negative impact these have on your life before it’s too late. However it offers hope that if you are faced with this seemingly overwhelming situation there is help if you need it and sometimes recalling advice you didn’t heed is enough to get your mind thinking that nothing is insurmountable. Almost when breaking these dangerous habits or toxicity you are faced with the realisation that everyone else who nagged you or tried to get you to see some sense you ultimately feel that you them down. Been there down that and unfortunately got the t-shirt. Brilliant closing track with really thought provoking lyrics. Massive chills on the bridge prior to the closing guttural response from Connor when Tobias beautifully sings below with such a heartfelt sincerity and I almost felt I was singing these words. Truly exceptional. “I promised you that I would be a better man
I’m taking steps to achieve the master plan
I swear I never meant to let my family down
I think I let you down
I promised you that I would be a better man
Took for granted the things that made me who I am
I swear I never meant to let my family down
I guess I let you down.”
In conclusion Our Hollow,Our Home have crafted an album with sonic dexterity with lyrics to challenge your way of thinking about how you should deal with difficult situations in life. They were not to know the baggage I would extol on to this recording but it’s very close to home and near the bone. It certainly has helped me gain some perspective on some personal matters and I hope others listening too can take something from this recording. This is beautifully brutal at times with some moments of clarity to make your head think that they are talking directly to you.
Standout tracks for me are Monarch, Overcast, Remember Me and Seven Years (Shine a Light on Me)