Review Summary: The third Carter puts his best foot forward and comes out with a solid release that almost shakes off the shadow of his older brothers.
Being brother to two successful musicians can have its benefits, but there are also drawbacks specifically if you’re hoping to break out as a musician yourself. For Richard Carter being the brother of Frank and Stephen Carter (Gallows) is about as big as a drawback you can have, especially when he’s trying to create the same style of music as his siblings. As such the first question you’ll often find popping into your head is whether Blackhole can stand up to its older brother Gallows? And in this particular situation the answer is undoubtedly, yes.
Blackhole is a British hardcore band, playing a style not unlike that of similar Gallows, this connection to the tends to be rather obvious with both bands sharing the aforementioned blood link as well as playing more or less the same style of music. That being said Blackhole is far from being a Gallows clone. They combine the raw and energetic hardcore style of Gallows with a more metallic edge, featuring a fair number of melodic metal influenced leads.
What separates Blackhole from other bands in the scene is essentially the same thing that separated their sibling band, a little word called emotion. Richard Carter’s ferocious vocals are something to behold, holding a relatively solid range (for a hardcore vocalist and outdoing his brother Frank) and being quite capable at conveying the required emotion, he serves his purpose well, bringing Blackhole’s message of angst and hatred to you in a very sincere manner. On top of that he’s backed by a very solid band, with a fair amount of instrumental variance that allows the band to avoid the trap many hardcore bands fall into i.e. songs sounding too similar to one another.
For all these positives Blackhole doesn’t quite manage to pull themselves from the shadow of Gallows, despite offering up an exciting and energetic slice of hardcore they lack that additional factor to truly separate themselves from the crowd. That being said, Dead Hearts does exactly what a debut album should do, it establishes the band, allows them to put forth a solid offering of their material and gives them plenty of room to build on. As a band Blackhole are going to struggle to shake off the shadow of Gallows, but with Dead Hearts the band has started out on the right foot, giving their listeners a taste of just what the band is about and really not much more could be asked for.
All in all Dead Hearts is an excellent debut, featuring powerful vocals, mildly complex instrumentation and the essence of pure anger. What the band lacks in originality they make up for with sincerity. For Blackhole the future looks bright, so long as the band keeps to their own path and continues to make music that showcases who they truly are and how the truly feel, I see nothing but good things ahead.