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Hollow Haze
Countdown To Revenge
August 2013
Released: 2013, Scarlet Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

Having toured with the likes of Tarja, Dragonforce and Accept, and with new frontman Fabio Lione of Rhapsody of Fire fame bringing the cream of symphonic power metal influence to their CV, it's fair to say that established quartet Hollow Haze have some clout to their moniker. With four albums already under their belts, and after critical acclaim for 2012's 'Poison In Black', the anticipation of great things from their latest baby shouldn't be too far a stretch.



In good news, it's as vivacious and intense as envisaged (although in light of the album's featuring of Antarktica and the Wintermoon Orchestra, expectations of anything less would be reasonably retarded). Bombastic and gloriously OTT, it's true to signature form of the genre. Lione's gravelly falsetto slices through tense synth patterns and pummeling power-rhythms like a satin cheese wire attacking a set of crochet net curtains. Technically on-point at all times, the old-school seeps through every sonic pore, with Lione's previous musical projects pairing tremendously with tinges of Helloween and Queensryche, for a traditional vibe offset by a refined performance patina. But they're not a one-trick-power-pony; threads of Rage and the towering heights of Stratovarius are spiked with thrashier hues of Iced Earth and tied to a classic core that hints at Maiden, for a feel that is both pastiche and current.



Modal melodies and oriental tones also disarm and outthink listening predictions, sprinkling some variety into the pancake. It's knowledgeable, practiced and a testament to the instrumental chops of a band who have cut their teeth on myriad gems of theatrical metal, both old and new.



What's also great about 'Countdown To Revenge' is the ability to actually take it seriously. One of the enormous thorns in the side of power-metal is its propensity to make you absolutely crack up with its ridiculousness, no matter how much respect you may have for the catchy songwriting and powerhouse delivery. But the musicality within this record, the grand orchestral soundscapes and the prolific virtuosic skill, are all too strong to write it off as common-or-garden pomp-comedy. Any troubles? It can get a little much after a while. This isn't a criticism of its creativeness or adherence to the genre criteria; it's simply an observation that its sheer richness leads it to become the aural equivalent of a really sweet and creamy Knickerbocker Glory that gets rather sickly after a while.



As an artifact of modern power metal, however, it's a force to be reckoned with. Opting for punchy song structures and lengths, rather than attempting deviations into progressive territory, is also to its benefit; the verse-chorus roadmarks anchor its lofty content into absorbable segments, rather than suggesting a lack of expansiveness or willingness to experiment where songwriting is concerned.



Consistent, bolshy and confrontational, 'Countdown To Revenge' packs a significant punch through its lace-trimmed velvet glove. If you like a bit of drama, go and treat yourself – you'll be very glad you did.



Review by Rhiannon Marley
Track Listing

1. Room 212
2. Watching In Silence
3. Still Alive
4. No Rest For The Angels
5. Life Has No Meaning
6. We Must Believe
7. The Answer
8. Il Tempo Del Fuoco
9. A Fading Angel's Life
10. Countdown To Revenge
11. The Gate To Nowhere...

Lineup

Fabio Lione – Vocals
Nick Savio – Guitars
Dave Cestaro – Bass Guitar
Camillo Colleluori – Drums

Other reviews

» Countdown To Revenge
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Countdown To Revenge
by Erich


Next review: » Hollow Haze - Countdown To Revenge
Previous review: » Hollow Ground - 2003 Demo

Hollow Haze
Countdown To Revenge
September 2013
Released: 2013, Scarlet Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Vicenza, Italy’s Hollow Haze is back with their fifth album, COUNTDOWN TO REVENGE. Big news this time is Fabio Lione is handling vocal duties on the album, quite a coup for a virtually unknown band. Mixed at Gate Studios in Germany, and produced by perfectionist Sascha Paeth (Angra, Edguy, Avantasia), the band rounds out this effort with a special guest appearance from Rick Altzi of Masterplan on the song “Still Alive”. These are bold moves from a band that is clearly making a play for greater renown. Classifying themselves as melodic metal, the band is far more complex than most melodic metal bands, and more accurately can be described as Italian power metal lite, the band not quite as progressive as bands like Rhapsody Of Fire.



The album is balanced through its entirety with epic orchestral keyboard elements, courtesy of Simone Giorgini of Wintermoon Orchestra, and fast chugging guitars delivered with the expected technical flourishes now routinely associated with Italian Power Metal. Lione alters his vocal delivery to great effect on this album, incorporating passages of greater aggression and singing more in the lower registers than he utilized with Rhapsody Of Fire. That is not to say that he does not still hit the stratosphere on occasion, as the intense “No Rest For Angels” demonstrates. Impressively, the band does a noteworthy job in varying the tempos and styles of some of the songs, as on “Life Has No Meaning”, which moves mid-paced and melodic, using open spaces in place of note dense passages and a resolving and emotional solo near the end. It is probably the closest to the band’s self-described sound, much closer to Fullforce than say Labyrinth.



Guitarist Nick Savio is a real weapon on this album, employing solos that are classical at times, Middle Eastern at others, and NWOBHM as well. Rarely have I heard such a variety of solo styles on an album, and even more rarely, that so many diverse styles actually work towards bettering the song rather than saying “Look at how many styles I can play!” Make no mistake; COUNTDOWN TO REVENGE is a great album that offers less predictability and more stylistic variation then many power metal bands. Sure it is still complex and bombastic, but also digestible and more easily assimilated than more progressive power metal music. I found it a nice change of pace, and if you are a power metal fan looking for something a bit different than the usual, then you should give Hollow Haze a chance.
Track Listing

1.Room 212

2.Watching In Silence

3.Still Alive

4.No Rest For The Angels

5.Life Has No Meaning

6.We Must Believe

7.The Answer

8.Il Tempo Del Fuoco

9.A Fading Angel’s Life

10.Countdown To Revenge

11.The Gate To Nowhere…

Lineup

Fabio Lione: Vocals
Nick Savio: Guitars
Dave Cestaro: Bass Guitar
Camillo Colleluori: Drums

Other reviews

» Countdown To Revenge
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Countdown To Revenge
by Erich


Next review: » Hollywood Rose - The Roots Of GUNS N’ ROSES
Previous review: » Hollow Ground - 2003 Demo





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