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American Hollow - Whisper Campaign CD (album) cover


American Hollow

Progressive Metal

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Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Starting with intro track Terranoia in almost Post-Rock-ing way (with track's drum marching sounding backing and soft guitars playing), American Hollow began their road to attract listeners.

Album then continues in a way that's quite unique. It can be understood as Metal influenced (or intended), but its slow pace at times (often) shows to more subtle genres of Prog, while when it's not calm, song structure is Heavy and even Prog Metal-ish Resulting sound is quite interesting (even it may be too "same sounding" for some). The good thing is that song material is quite consistent and it takes just about one, two listens to understand this album (which is certainly good thing, as I overlooked some albums just because they were growers [needed multiple listenings]).

So, instrument playing skills are decent. Of course, comparing this to masters like Fripp, Petrucci o Hacket would be stupid thing to do (and quite unfair, which is something I don't like to do), but I can say that you won't feel disappointed (as I felt when listening certain artists which I rather won't name). Vocal work is solid, the sa,e words apply as for instruments. The good thing is that at times, there are more members singing, which is something I both like and think that's a good thing to do.

The most interesting track is perhaps Illumineye with original start and layering further on (including final graduation of song into big finale) and of course album's "epic", Prizards (this word wasn't in my vocabulary before), where American Hollow show their range as Prog band (combination of everything I've said in this review). Different genres used, different vocal techniques. I would see this song being their flagship, some kind of showcase of what AH stands for.

4(-), for a debut, very good, I'm very positive about band's future.

Report this review (#300821)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here's once again an album I have problem reviewing. The music doesn't do much for me. I listen to it, and for the most part, I am simply not moved or engaged. But I can recognize it is quality music into which a lot of thought, time and effort went into making. I can also tell that other people will love this.

So, what do I do?

Do I write about how each time I listened to the album, it sounded all too similar to me with little variation between the songs? Or do I write about how I think this album would sound to others? Or do I just write drily about what the music sounds like? Do all of the above? I'm not sure let's see together?

Poised on the border between rock and metal, American Hollow makes heavy spacey and emotional music. Whisper Campaign is their first full-length, released in 2010.

Their tunes are balanced the more volumetric side and the more aggressive and straight-in- your-face punches of guitar riffs with mid-to-high range pitched vocals and a clear production. Moreover, the musicianship is accomplished and in particular I appreciate the delicate and efficient bass work (and the fact that it's heard clearly). The music they write has its intricacies and depth and at times a melodic hook; it is powerful and emotional music that does bear its full weight on you as you listen (a good thing, in case you wondered).

One of the songs I liked on the album was Illumineye, where they play a well-mixed blend of their spacey and heavy approaches. This is a song where the theme is a catchy one, demands attention and is well developed. Prizards is another such well-done song and quite lengthy (at over 13 minutes) and one that shows well the range of vocalist's Jameson's voice.

With that said, I felt that they linger on too much with themes without much development or making use of other tools at their disposal to make matters interesting to the listener (such as in Gravity, Constant or the opener Terranoia). I also found that for the most part there are no hooks in the song to hold my interest. I feel that if you're going to write music with a lot of "room" in it, music that has spacey qualities, you need to fill it with something more than just to continue playing the same thing over; for instance with a solo, an additional instrument, an additional musical line, an effect, a change in tempo or motif, etc. But that is absent, even in a song I liked here such as Prizards, where the middle section does linger on without much happening; it could have been made into something much more compelling in my opinion.

Take for example the song, Blow Wind!, Bring Forth Storm; this is a faster paced song, aggressive and with catchy verse and chorus. This song also shows a balance between quick and slower pace, and also provides more than one alternative to the main theme throughout the song. In other words, the band built a solid heavy rock/metal song, developed it and made it sound like a song that's uniquely theirs. If you were to ask me what direction the band needs to take in the future, this song would represent it. In here you can hear the basic style you heard in the other songs, as well as their creativity and sense of experimentation.

To go back to my dilemma in the beginning of how to write this review, I hope I've been fair to both myself as well as to the potential fans of this album and band. I can hear much enthusiasm and talent in this band (in both musicianship and song-writing). But in the end one can't love all, and while their music doesn't "click" with me, it's certainly worthy of being heard, so do take the time to listen to their album (it's streaming on their website) and judge for yourself.

Report this review (#385474)
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars So it all started by accident in some way - no, this is not a complicated story to relate. Simply put ... thanks for waking me up, Nathan ... otherwise I would have missed this excellent album most likely! AMERICAN HOLLOW are a band from Kentucky with some years of experience in the back - it is said their energetic live sets have gained attention a lot over the course of time. Now in 2010 they released this debut 'Whisper Campaign'. Which means, the band nearly took all the time in the world in order to offer something reliable ... and hard to pigeonhole in terms of music categories.

The album holds a blend of heavy art rock and prog metal ingredients, here and there extended with psych/space and alternative leanings. Well, this is very trendy, when you are considering this bunch of successful bands at present, like Tool, Karnivool, Portal, Cog to name a few. And in fact, you'll find many catchy melodies, heavy riffing and sharp guitars as well as mellow charming parts constantly alternating. A menu which is not surprising as such superficially ... anyhow, to make it short, this album is so unique though that I liked it from the very first.

For example ... I can't remember that one of this aforementioned bands ever has added such a thrilling song like Operator to their repertory. I find this psychedelic opening fascinating, decorated with melancholic piano and Jimmy Holman's irresistible vocals - short, but surely a highlight. Don't know if this has a deeper sense, song titles are often related to physics respectively mathematics somehow. Comprising slicing guitars and a powerful rhythm branch some songs are getting closer to Karnivool ... and this is meant as a compliment, to make it clear. Variable shows lovely piano snippets - please play this louuud!

The opener Terronoia is a spellbinding affair, underlaid with marching drums where Prizards eventually sums all the band's qualities up at once with sense of melody, variety - another highlight if you ask me. Gravitiy and Illumineye represent a special song couple, due to some spacey flavour they've added here somewhere in between ... the heavier moments though remind me of Sieges Even. Finally the closing song gathers some elements from the opener including voice samples and wraps 'Whisper Campaign' up.

An album which is worth investigating, I like such an ambitious mix of power and sensitivity. And maybe you can take this whole thing for one suite really due to the fact that the songs are fading into each other. Regarding one or two tracks some holy watchers of pure prog probably will throw a veto in - nah, it doesn't matter. Guitars and vocals are definitely dominating here ... Nathan Gilbert's restrained keyboard/synth adds are well placed nevertheless - worthwile so much the more. Well, did I already mention it before? ... thanks for waking me up!

Report this review (#398660)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US outfit AMERICAN HOLLOW can trace its roots back to 2001, but the band as it is currently constituted crystallized sometimes around 2008. "Whisper Campaign" is their debut album, and was self-released in 2010.

The first half of the debut album "Whisper Campaign" by American Hollow bears witness to a band providing good quality progressive metal with a distinct mainstream orientation. The second half the recording is more adventurous and innovative, with an overall sound somewhere in between grunge and alternative metal but set in a progressive framework, with quite a number of nifty details applied to enliven the arrangements, well- performed and -produced, and with a good and strong lead vocalist to boot. And while this disc may not be a gold nugget to be found amidst plenty of granite, it should be a rewarding experience for those who find the notion of grunge, alternative metal and progressive metal mixed to be intriguing.

Report this review (#502505)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink

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