Hollow Haze – Countdown To Revenge
Hollow Haze – Countdown To Revenge (2013)
Reviewed by Kevin Hathaway
Fabio Lione has been a busy man the past two or three years, what with being the lead singer of two of Italy’s biggest power metal bands (Rhapsody of Fire and Vision Divine), touring to fill the vocal void for two of the world’s other biggest power metal bands (Kamelot and Angra), and a multitude of guest vocalist sessions including, but certainly not limited to: Kaledon, Thy Majestie, and Wisdom. One can only speculate how Lione could find time for yet a third full-time band (Fabio confirmed for the next Doctor?), but he manages to pull it off, fronting the fifth album from Italian proggers Hollow Haze.
Soundwise, Hollow Haze sports a chunky but melodic guitar sound akin to other modern prog metal acts such as Sweden’s Andromeda, and has a similar way of interplaying the keyboards as well, although the material here is nowhere near as technically demanding as Andromeda. Instead, the band opts for an easier to digest form of progressive metal, scarcely straying far from the 5-minute range, and using fairly simple but effective song structures that put emphasis on the melodies and choruses.
As expected, Fabio delivers a stellar performance, and the other members are no slouches either. Guitarist Nick Savio supplies more riffs on this album than Luca Turilli’s entire career (I’m sorry! I love Luca, but you know it to be true, dear reader!), and Simone Giorgini accents the music well with top-notch orchestrations that don’t overwhelm the rest of the music. There are some killer cuts here such as “Still Alive” which has an instantly headbang-worthy riff, an anthemic chorus, and a flashy shredding guitar solo (did I mention a guest spot for Rick Altzi?), as well as the 9-minute titular track with its fantastic build-up to the epic climax, and the return of both raspy-voiced Fabio and operatic Fabio. (on the same track? Hot diggity!)
Some who have followed Fabio here from Rhapsody Of Fire may be disappointed in the change of style, but past and general fans of Fabio Lione and his vast plethora of work will be happy to see him step a bit out of his comfort zone and still excel. Those who have not heard of Hollow Haze prior to this release, such as myself, should be able to find themselves welcoming the band very quickly with open ears. It’s a grower, albeit a very accessible one thanks Fabio’s vocals and the compact nature of Hollow Haze’s progressive metal. This release has me curious about the band’s previous work as well, given the showmanship presented here, and also leaves me in anticipation of future works. By the next release, Fabio will be tied for the band’s longest tenure as a vocalist, which is kinda sad now that I think about it, considering this is their fifth album…
Countdown To Revenge is melodic and proggy with a power metal edge, flashy, professional, and most of all, a darn good album that, while not quite album of the year material, does little to harm Fabio Lione’s ever-expanding and consistently impressive resumé.
4.0 // 5