Album review: Hollow Front – The Fear Of Letting Go

Michigan marauders Hollow Front begin a new chapter on excellent, emphatic third album.

Album review: Hollow Front – The Fear Of Letting Go
James Hickie

What would metalcore be without suffering? Ask Hollow Front, whose third album captures them in a state of flux, while reminding us that the significance of a piece of art can change over time. Not a lot of time, in the case of single Letting Go. Beginning life as a lament about the end of a romantic union, the song took on a new significance when guitarist Dakota Alvarez announced he was leaving the band, citing the residual trauma and financial complications resulting from the bus crash Hollow Front were involved in last year.

Dakota’s presence on Letting Go, the album’s closing track, certainly brings an added poignancy in its final moments. Hearing vocalist Tyler Tat sing the words ‘The passion’s gone now’ and ‘I never thought that it would come to this’ to an outgoing bandmate who’s made the heartbreaking decision to take different path reminds us that all relationships are subject to the same stages and we all process them in different ways.

The Fear Of Letting Go is an album that pushes and pulls the listener, with a plethora of hyperactive riffs and towering melodies, thematically preoccupied with resilience in the face of life’s obstacles – be they personal, professional, or global. Obviously, within the context of Hollow Front’s career, the question is whether this iteration of the band, working as a duo completed by guitarist Lee Albrecht, has the output to continue passing muster.

The answer is an overwhelming yes. We’re All Left Suffering is a beastly slab of existential dread, with its probing guitars adding to the visceral sense of catastrophe and confusion, supplemented by orchestral elements that make things even bigger. Breaking Teeth, meanwhile, is similarly impactful but favours the hardcore over the histrionic. Whatever the style, though, proceedings rarely dip in quality.

Things are kept fresh and interesting by not being too clinical when it comes to mixing the heavy and clean vocals, instead tipping one way or the other depending on what best serves the material. So while Will I Run generally favours the more saccharine approach, Crash And Burn pours flaming petrol rather than honey in your ear. Both demonstrate Tyler’s impressive dexterity as a performer.

The Fear Of Letting Go is an impressive record. Born from a trying time for its authors, it has emerged, musically crushing and emotionally forthcoming, to bring similar catharsis to listeners. It teaches us, too, that however tough things get, tomorrow can be day one of a new beginning if you’re willing to put the work in. Hollow Front have shown us it’s possible.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Bury Tomorrow, In Hearts Wake, The Ghost Inside

The Fear Of Letting Go is released on November 3 via UNFD

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