Released: 2015, Scarlet Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Hollow Haze is a band that has been around since 2003, releasing 5 albums prior to this one. Coming from Italy, they play a speed-driven style of metal that has elements of Progressive Metal in it. Their sixth album continues along that same path. Although, this time along, they are without Fabio Lione, who left before this album. Therefore, there is no one vocalist for this album, but rather three! In steps Mats Leven, Rick Altzi and Amanda Somerville to fill in for the vocal duties (although only for this album). With that, we already have some diversity in between all the songs.
Right away, we are greeted with an intro that gets us ready for the album, then the speedy number Rain of Fire Lights. It shows what the tempo of the album is going to be (fast and more of a Power Metal style than Progressive). With that, we are also set up with a concept album of sorts, that being of aliens that came down to ancient civilizations of Earth. Although not a full blown story, it does have an intertwining theme throughout the album, something that comes up in many of the songs of the album.
The biggest strength that came out of this album is the keyboards. Every song set the mood and at one point I was asking myself “can they produce a bad sound on this album?” The answer is no, as they keep the tone and don’t go off into spewing keyboard wankery for no reason other than to be heard. With that, it fits in well with all the instruments (which all seem to work together), especially the guitar work on this album, which does tend to go for quite a few solos, but nothing too over the top to make the listening experience be soured. One of the major reasons this comes off so well would be in part to the mixing of Mika Jussila, who has helped such bands as Nightwish, Apocalyptica and Children Of Bodom.
A New Era is a bit of an odd track, but it does lead into the track Night Is Calling. I do feel having the both of them together would have made one track of nearly 8 minutes, which doesn't seem to suit this album at all (with only one track going over 6 minutes). As for that 6 minute track (being Gate to Eternity) I found that was the only weak spot on this album. It's not that it's a bad track, it just happens to follow an album of solid to great tracks on it.
Another thing that I liked about this album is that every song started off differently. Silvertown starts off with a movie soundtrack like intro. Lance of Destiny has a Middle Eastern sound intro. Eyes of the Sphinx has an acoustic intro (not heard at all before this track or after) and even Demon has a nice intro as well. I point this out because these are all tracks at the back half of the album, where you usually get more of the filler songs on the album. This allows them to stand out and be recognized.
Overall, this is a hard working band that is able to get over their struggles and put out a great album. This doesn't get boring at all, especially if you’re someone who appreciates a story/theme behind their music. From start to finish, it’s a worthwhile listen.
Reviewed by Josh