Overall Score: 7/10 Riffs: 7/10 Creativity: 7/10 Performances: 7/10 Pros: A solid debut | Moments of exciting exploration Cons: Difficult to find a stand-out element aside from moments of exploration
Getting people to pay attention and become invested in your music is often no easy task for a debut album. Leeds metalcore outfit On Hollow Ground achieve this on their debut effort “Blood is Blood” by providing familiarity with glimpses of experimentation.
Hotly-tipped as a band to keep an eye on, On Hollow Ground have made a strong start to their full album discography. Metalcore becomes a more divisive genre every year, and with so many bands jockeying for position, it takes something special to stand out from the pack. Regardless of over-saturation, metalcore is still great when done well and on “Blood is Blood”, it does what it says on the metalcore shaped tin.
Plenty of classic metalcore tropes fill the majority of this album’s fairly short but effective runtime, which clocks in at just over 28 minutes. From dual harsh/clean vocals to several riffs that wear their metalcore sound on their sleeves; if it’s that sound you want then you won’t be disappointed.
Though the album grabs a lot of the best elements from the world of metalcore, that means it also comes with the sub-genres own downsides. The biggest one being – it can all sound a bit too similar. There are moments on this record that would be hard to differentiate from the vast metalcore catalogue of a dozen other bands, though that isn’t to say that what’s here isn’t done well. It’s safe to say that if you’re on the side of the fence where you’re a little bored of that approach, parts of this album probably aren’t for you.
The stand out moments come from when the band throw other elements and influences in and allow them to seep into the metalcore soundscape of the record. Heavier tendencies creep in to several tracks where the vocals take a harsher tone and the riffs follow suit. In particular, the breakdown that occurs just under a minute and a half into the second track on the album ‘Broken’, is a brilliantly brutal palette cleanser filled with doom vibes.
Elsewhere in Blood Is Blood, more contemporary influences also make their way in. Stripped back moments with soft female vocals and some hip-hop trap style beats really help to separate some of the tracks. More stand out moments come in tracks 7 and 8 (Blood is Blood and Shut Down) where a piano is incorporated into riffs and a breakdown. Though the album is solid from start to finish, these moments made it more memorable from other metalcore projects.
As mentioned at the start, getting people to pay attention is what you need in a debut album and that’s no easy task. Though “Blood is Blood” is a very solid metalcore album, the few moments of real exploration are the parts people will remember and keep them coming back to this record. More of this diversification in sound would elevate the record even further but regardless, it’s still a very solid debut that leaves you wanting to see where they take this sound next.
On Hollow Ground’s debut album “Blood is Blood” is released on the 17th July.