Review: Hollowstar – Hollowstar
Hollowstar (May 3rd 2019)
Reviewer: David Pearce
Hollowstar’s self-titled debut album explodes out of the speakers with the driving guitars of ‘Take It All’, which sets out their stall as the next wave in UK heavy rock.
By using the two lead guitars of Phil Haines and Tom Collett, they hit the listener with a wall of noise that reminds me of the early 80s pioneers of the dual lead guitar sound Judas Priest. The drums of Jack Bonson are integral to supporting the sound in the same way as Rick Allen of Def Leppard does a lot of the heavy lifting in their songs.
Finally we get to Joe Bonson’s towering vocals. He has a set of pipes very similar to Neville MacDonald of the short lived, but brilliant 90s band Skin. He is able to handle the whole range of a heavy rock singer’s art with seeming ease.
‘Let You Down‘ is a classic rock track that doesn’t just slavishly copy the genre but brings something new to it and serves notice that these guys can really invigorate the sound and bring it to a new audience. ‘Invincible‘ sees Jack Bonson delivering smooth vocals that demonstrate how easily he can hold the listener in the palm of his hands.
Live performances from Hollowstar are going to be a real event as they move on to bigger and bigger venues. ‘Think of Me‘ is a heavy rock love song in which the lyrics are genuinely heartfelt and all the more impactful for being unexpected. ‘Money‘ starts with an expert guitar riff that sees it act as percussion just as much as it acts as the basis for the tune. It is a bravura piece of playing that shows the sheer talent of the band.
‘All I Gotta Say‘ is a song about a bad end to a relationship that strikes a note of defiance that will no doubt resonate with many a listener! When you listen to this album the second or third time really focus on the lyrics because Hollowstar take as much time on them as they do on the music, which is by no means universal.
‘Good Man Gone‘ is another great example of the tightness of the band where all four components just blend together to create rock alchemy. Overrated is definitely something they are not, but Hollowstar have fun with the title and the song will probably become a live favourite with the refrain ‘I know I’ve got the mind of a warrior‘ just asking for a full throated singalong.
‘Down by the Water‘ is a track that has a hint of Paradise City in the guitar riff and it’s so good that Slash himself would probably be quite happy with the comparison. This incredibly good debut album finishes with ‘Sinner‘, an Aerosmith style full on rocker that leaves you wanting more as every final track should.
Make no mistake there’s real substance to Hollowstar!