Album review: HOLLOWSTAR

HOLLOWSTAR [Release date: 03.05.19]

This is a full debut album from four-piece hard rockers Hollowstar, who have previously put out only a couple of EPs up until this point. The album has been worth the wait. It serves up a feast of meaty riffs and tasty vocals allied to mature compositions, with no little poise and class on the side.

From the opening twin-guitar salvo of ‘Take It All’, the album shimmers with intent and purpose. That energy and sureness of foot continues with the dense ‘Let You Down’ and the powerhouse ‘Invincible’.

The core of the band is formed by the brothers Bonson: Joe on vocals/bass and Jack on drums. Phil Haines and Tom Collet share impressive rhythm and lead guitar duties throughout.

They all bring their A-game to one of the album’s stand out tracks, ‘Money’, featuring a thrilling guitar signature underpinned by sharp lyrics, well-worked changes of pace and an edgy delivery.

‘All I Gotta Say’ continues in the same vein, offering some clever pauses and change-ups amongst the muscular riffage and tour de force singing.

Alongside the rhythm-heavy, pumping ‘Good Man Gone’ these three tracks provide a high quality mid-album peak. In these days of splintered downloads and piece meal listening, it is refreshing to note the craft with which this album flows and grows.

What else? Well, a good bit.

‘Overated’ produces a heavy boogie shuffle which would put one in mind of Black Stone Cherry. It packs the best guitar solo on the album, rivalled perhaps by that on the aforementioned ‘Good Man Gone’.

And then ‘Down by the Water’, built on a blues riff dirty and low enough to have originated in the Mississippi Delta with the tide out. The collection is closed out by another vibrant piece of heavy rock in ‘Sinner’.

If I’m picking holes (I’m sorry, it’s my job), ‘Think of Me’ is a ballad which is too ploddy in pace and lyrical construction, saved somewhat by a decent instrumental break.

The band has earned some tour spurs supporting the likes of Graham Bonnet and the Dan Reed Network, and they are out on the road again soon. This fine debut album will further raise the profile of Hollowstar and whet the appetite for more. ****

Review by Dave Atkinson

The Best of 2019

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