Let us start by saying if Holly Maddux is not acclaimed as one of the best and most inventive bands in metal within the next five years then something is seriously wrong. The band is breath taking and their debut album Don’t Bother Catching Your Breath one of the, if not the most inventive, adventurous, and imaginative album in a long time.
From just a stray posting on Facebook, we were led to a band and release which simply stokes up real excitement. Their sound and album is wonderfully unpredictable, an explosion of ideas and creativity which ventures far beyond expectations and limiting boundaries. Many bands try to push the envelope and like Holly Maddux fuse multiple genres and sounds together but it is hard to think of any as accomplished and downright thrilling as the sextet from New Port Richey, FL. Do not try labelling the band as it is impossible, they meld into their own unique sound everything from death and progressive metal, metalcore and hardcore, to melodic and experimental metal with plenty more to spice it all into a distinct flavour. Every one of the eleven songs is individual in sound and vision, an eclectic collection for hungry eclectic tastes. They are also as mighty as any extreme storm, each track barbaric and aggressive with moments of ‘tenderness’ to sooth the wounds and leave the senses in awe.
The band formed in 2008 and took no time in enrapturing the local scene with their fresh and distinct sound. Their impressive live show and energy led the band to being the local opening act for the Thrash-N-Burn and Night of the Living Shred tours of 2009 as well as plenty of stage sharing with major metal and hardcore bands thereafter. Don’t Bother Catching Your Breath is the next step to major recognition and if it turns out not to be the key to that lock it is still a giant stepping stone to that definite destiny.
The soothing sound of waves greets the ear with opener Open Seas, a brief instrumental whose atmosphere evolves into a breaking storm, an impending tempest which arrives in the shape of We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat. The track immediately stirs up the senses with bestial growls, guttural grunts, and venomous vocal squalls whilst a tight groove whips the ear like scything wind. It is a maelstrom of energy, the vocals at the centre with guitars and rhythms buffeting around them. Reaching its eye clean vocals suddenly breakout to settle the intensity though it takes no time in regaining dominance despite excellent weaves of keys. The band revolves through extreme metal and hardcore sounds impressively to leave one slightly shell shocked and grinning greedily. John Hickey and Kyle King share the keys and vocals throughout the album, and both are impressive with their blackened malevolent delivery near perfect and their clean attack more than impressive, and the blend expertly worked out and delivered throughout.
It is a great start but things only get better with the likes of the title track and Get A Load Of This doing more rewarding damage. The first barges through the ear with pure force but behind the storm there is a great prog jazz bassline from Pat Sherwood going on, it is partially hidden but with focus shines like a beacon within the oppressive brilliance. Guitarists Paul Ogorek and Billy Norton rampage and prowl in the song like rabid predators, a fury in their sonic heart brought through calculated precision and intent. The other track opens with a heavy metal based riff to again offer something different whilst the vocals are as deliciously abrasive as ever. It twists and explodes within the ear, its progressive nature an eager companion to the furnace in its belly.
The keys light up Fish Hands to offer a sonic scorching not yet explored on the album whilst the outstanding What It Do bitch slaps the senses into numbness with coarse destructive violation before switching into a rap metal like stroll reminding of Kennedy Soundtrack. The switch is seamless, organic, and a stunning fusion to drool over. The drums of John Young never stray from being an intimidating companion and he like the rest of the band over the whole album, is nothing short of impressive. The song continues through many gaits before its end to leave one even more enamoured as it leaves its last scar.
The towering What An Odd Thing To Say with its tumbling rhythms, rifling riffs, and scurrying metallic energy is arguably the best song on the album, though that choice does shift from play to play. It is another merciless beast of aggression and open imagination to incite the passions as do the following The Assailant and 43 Of 43, both downright magnificent, though every track fall into that category.
In case the clarity is not there, we quite like Holly Maddux… like as in placing them on our stalker list. Don’t Bother Catching Your Breath is easily one of the best things to corrupt and fire up the year and we suggest you let it ignite yours too.
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