September 22, 2014

Hollow - Mordrake

Written by Matt Hinch.

Mordrake is the debut from Montreal symphonic black metal/melodic death metal fiends Hollow. Not to be confused with the seven other Hollows listed on Metal Archives. The group consists of vocalist Mott, guitarist Cadaver, bassist Snow and drummer Blaac. However, there's enough symphonic and keyboard elements here that one would think it would be listed on their lineup but there's no one to lay the blame on.

I kid! I'm not much for symphonics but other than in a few places (like the start of the album) they serve more as accents to enhance the atmosphere rather than dominating the listening experience. Choral voices, strings, brass and synths all work their way into the tight spaces between the blistering attack Hollow are adept at laying down.

The sub-genre tag the band is saddled with isn't exactly on point. The black metal elements come mostly in the atmosphere and Mott's demonic rasps. He also brings a formidable (if unoriginal) deathly growl to match the full depth of their searing death metal. In addition, he employs a clean vocal as well, as the diversity of the band also ventures into epic and Viking-esque realms.

Personally I hear quite a bit of thrash influence pumping through Mordrake. Galloping rhythms and unfettered speed have the biggest impact and there's no doubt Cadaver can shred his way through solo or a hundred. The album was recorded with no "triggers, midi or cut-and-paste" making the brilliant musicianship on display all the more impressive. Blaac in particular is equally talented at hyper-activity and nuance. While Snow puts his gnarly tone and forward-thinking basslines to good use.

As Hollow work their way toward the three-part closing "suite" that lends the album its name, complexity and depth reveal further influence. From folk melodies and prog to shades of NWOAHM and power metal, Mordrake incorporates numerous elements while maintaining the venom and power of their base blackened death/thrash modus operandi. While the RIYL spread includes Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Cradle of Filth - all apt - Hollow may be more in line to gain praise from fans of Children of Bodom.

Hollow are serious about their corpsepaint and serious about their chops. Let Mordrake be the proof in the pudding that these guys are not to be overlooked.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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