Hollow Corp. – Cloister of Radiance

Band: Hollow Corp.
Album: Cloister of Radiance
Genre: Metal
Label: Prosthetic

1. Elevation
2. Inferno
3. Code
4. Peripherals
5. Sabbat
6. Opium
7. Samen
8. Thujon

When it comes right down to it, Europe is a pretty metal place, especially the Scandinavian portions. Children of Bodom, In Flames, and Dimmu Borgir come to mind for me, but when it comes to the fair country of France, I don’t really expect anything tough to come out of there, considering their war record. (Ooh burn!) But alas, proudly hailing from “the wine district of Alsace” is Hollow Corp. and their debut album, Cloister of Radiance. Thankfully not wielding baguettes or berets, Hollow Corp. appears to be a young band that tries to put yet another spin on the spun out genre that is (insert appropriate preposition here)-core metal.

When I investigated Hollow Corp.’s Myspace, I thought they jokingly referred to their style as down-tempo, the same way that a metal band might list themselves as afro-beat. However, this time they were being truthful, often slowing down the pace of their songs to momentum-changing interludes. Hollow Corp. is by no means that fast anyways, coming off as slower brand of a black-metal influenced attack. However, the genre naming doesn’t end there. The epic-ness of songs like “Peripherals” and the frequent buildups and changeups of riffs qualifies them for elementary progressive status. (Vocalist Stephane Azam can pull off both growls and spoken verses similar to Opeth’s) Mix in some generic sounding metal aggression, and you almost have this crazily influenced band figured out.

The band achieves breakdown status as well, especially in the opening verses of “Elevation” and near the end of “Sabbat” as well. However, I don’t find the metal portions of the songs that fantastic most of the time. “Inferno” and “Code” bore me, except for the latter’s foray into an almost experimental clean interlude. The riffs I hear are quite basic, Hollow Corp. keeping it simple early on as they write their lengthy songs. I hear some thrashy tempo in the near ending of “Samen,” and some energy on “Sabbat,” but not much more than that.

Hollow Corp. pulls off the building of long, epic, haunting songs. “Peripherals” actually picks up and slows down several times in its twelve minutes, but aside from the good instrumental buildups, it doesn’t really lead to anything satisfying. “Opium” starts out really promising as well, featuring some of Azam’s towering spoken vocals. The influence of Opeth-style distorted guitars are really apparent here, and also on the beginning of the next track, “Samen.” While I’m talking about the instruments, the drums do not wow me at all, (except for a ridiculously long drum roll at the beginning of “Code”) but the bass is heard at some parts, mostly the quiet interludes, so good for that.

So am I impressed with the bleu, blanc and rouge? Not quite. The production was kind of rough, but I’ll take that due to the fact it’s their freshmen effort. Unfortunately for the ‘Corp, I enjoyed the far out interludes and down-tempo portion of their music more than the metal, which after listening to all the way through will probably just end up in an overload of Opeth rip-off riffs on the brain for the listener. The droning style of the music brings me down, and of course these guys have to mature musically before they begin to impress the majority of the metal heads of the world. Are they worth checking out? Not quite. They pull together a lot of genres, but rely on the dragging on progressiveness too much to be an effective force. The only way I can end this review is with a rhetorical question: Does Hollow Corp. feast on croissants? I’m not sure if that’s the most metal way to go, honestly.

*Written By: Jacob Kanclerz*
GRADE: 5/10

James Shotwell
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