Italian symphonic power metalers Hollow Haze is a band which has felt on the verge of big things across their previous albums but now with the release of Poison In Black it is hard to see anything other than the quintet crossing into a worldwide recognition. The album is a massive and powerful creation of stirring melodic enterprise and acutely shaped muscular intensity, that union a heated and flowing source of enveloping atmospheres and blistering sonic invention.
Hollow Haze has tapped into an impressive well of imaginative craft and mature songwriting with Poison In Black so that putting preferences aside even if the genre they frequent does not light up as much eagerness as others for many like us it is impossible not to be captivated at times by the skill and mastery on show from the band. Released via Bakerteam Records, the collection of twelve vibrant and generally rampaging tracks just win over the ear from their relentless persistence and fine artistry, and though probably not destined to be a regular partner in crime for the ear, any time spent alongside its energised heart is rewarding at the very least.
The excellent atmospheric intro Rise Above starts things off. As it plays you just feel and hear the shadows and clouds in its skies brewing, drawing together to create an epic backdrop for what is to come. This kind of start is a regular choice on albums of big metallic grandeur but it is hard to recall many as effective as by Hollow Haze here.
The following Tears Of Pain rushes through the ear with a keen and sharp intent to light up every corner of the senses with incendiary melodic play from the keys of Simon Giorgini and subsequently the guitar play of Nick Savio, though he is already rifling the senses through driven riffs which only fire up the passions. Because of personal tastes the vocal style of Ramon Sonato leave less inspired reactions though he is obviously a fine vocalist with an excellent range to leave many others in his wake.
The more reserved Never Turn Back allows a breath to be taken before the outstanding Haunting the Sinner unleashes its heavy metal heart. With mighty riffs which like accurate artillery crumble all defences before them, the song ebbs and flows with fiery melodic strokes and harsh combative intent, the track never less than challenging and inciteful h. The drums of Dave Cestaro cage the senses skilfully to barrack them throughout whilst bassist Camillo Colleluori prowls like a watching beast, his shadowed growls unfortunately held back by the production somewhat but there ready to take a bite.
As Poison In Black makes its way through the vast soundscapes of songs, the likes of Hit in Time which is simply an easily digestible and classy slab of rock n roll, the progressively coated Pray For You, and the immense Remorse leave nothing less than captivation behind their powerful presence. Each varied yet safely within the overall power metal brief of the band.
Taking top honours on the album is Voodoo Rites a song which is an almost seamless continuation of Remorse initially but evolves into a venom dripping and intrusive joy. It has sturdiness arguably absent elsewhere with the darker side of the band reaping its chance to explore and gnaw on the ear; even the vocal diversity encapsulates the shows at times to shuffle things up for great satisfaction.
Closing with a strong cover of the Black Sabbath track Headless Cross, easily Poison In Black is an album to light up the hearts of any power and symphonic metal fans, its accomplished skill and craft enthralling if not innovative. Even for us less enamoured with the genre Hollow Haze give more than a few pleasing moments to make them worth an investigation.
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