Hollow Woods - Official Website

Like Twisted Bones Of Fallen Giants

Finland Country of Origin: Finland

Like Twisted Bones Of Fallen Giants
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 2nd, 2024
Label: Signal Rex
Genre: Black
1. Ancient Graves
2. Beneath The Dying Tower
3. Night Burns Through
4. Halls Of Idle Breath
5. Interlude / Among Ruins
6. Burial Fires
7. Like Twisted Bones Of Fallen Giants

Review by Fernando on April 18, 2024.

Finnish black metal is as strong as ever, and more impressively, the country seems to become more prolific with each year, and with more quality bands, while some bands nowadays fall somewhere between modern or vintage, with all the pitfalls therein, other bands seem to be neither or both in some cases. Which brings me to Hollow Woods, by all accounts they’re a pretty standard band, however, after their debut album, they seem to be morphing into something special. As shown by their sophomore record Like Twisted Bones Of Fallen Giants, which is once again, released via Signal Rex.

The most significant aspect of Hollow Woods is its band members, the most well known is H. of Hail Conjurer, Ride For Revenge and Hooded Menace fame, but the rest of the members are significant for being in bands that aren’t black metal. Why is that important? For starters the music is definitive black metal, and despite being Finnish the music has more in common with the sound of mid 2000’s underground black metal, where the focus was less on melody and more on pure aggression and a relentlessly dark atmosphere with occasional tinges of folk chanting, that was the case with their debut and it’s reinforced here. Furthermore, the vocal stylings of H. are notable for being much more guttural, instead of the Nazgul-like screeches that most associate with Finnish black metal, H. is distinctively Beherit-inspired, at least for this band, and yet the vocals work perfectly with the music.

While the lack of standout performances aside from the vocals could be considered a pitfall, I think Hollow Woods succeeded differently. The performances are uniform, yes, but they’re not lacking in any way, every instrument is hard-hitting, and the uniform performances show a band that’s completely in sync, and there’s zero room for error because there is none. The compositions and the album’s pacing are also what benefits the most from the performances. The band does an excellent job of having a consistently intense performance but they also know when to slow down, let the atmosphere build, particularly when they bring acoustic guitars with nature ambiance, or create tension in tandem with the vocals. Considering the rest of the band are in punk or doom bands, it’s not surprising how dynamic the music is while still being fierce, no bullshit style black metal, and on top of that, the album is perfectly paced, as the songs don’t overstay their welcome, or end too quickly, and at just under 40 minutes the album this is a good time from beginning to end.

To close off I also want to praise the production. The band still feature an appropriately grim and dirty production but it’s audible enough to not come off as just raw and sloppy. The sound of each instrument is distinct enough, which is an improvement from the previous album as the mixing seems more balanced between each instrument, while also having a more natural sounding recording for the vocals. Suffice to say, Hollow Woods is indeed a worthy name for the ever expanding Finnish pantheon, while they don’t reinvent the wheel, they really don’t need to, their style is distinct and with enough familiar elements, and some more subtle leanings from other styles to feel fresh.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10