Review Summary: Listen. Give in to me.Ascension
was a powerful rock release and first release in general for a band. 3 Years Hollow is an alt-metal/modern rock group that just recently is getting a whole lot of recognition, especially since they formed up in 2007. They were brought along with RED on the Of Beauty and Rage
tour cycle about a year ago and the single “Chemical Ride” was played on Octane right around the same time, and it’s good to see an up and coming band finally get this attention. But do they deserve said attention and perhaps more on the merit of not only Ascension
but The Cracks? Absolutely. This is a band that’s worth looking at for quite some time.
As a whole, this album is much more melodic than its predecessor. Admittedly, the production is also clearer, but you still won’t find vocalist Jose relying near as much on his growls or the guitarists throwing out jagged, razor-sharp riffs quite as often. And you can still see the influences of the group, but they have their own sound at the same time. Jose still sounds similar to Mike Barnes from RED, though he’s also got a bit of Josh Smith (from Ashes Remain) southern grit to in there. He’s a proficient singer and is fully capable of both soothing and seething. On Ascension
, much of the guitarwork was more Killswitch Engage than Linkin Park, and that’s a massive change this time around. Don’t misunderstand, there are still some cool riffs present, they just feel slightly less full and raw, and more like they are just backing up the vocalist. Drums and bass are as they were on the last record: occasionally shining, but remaining in the background for the most part.
“The Devil’s Slave” and “Chemical Ride” hint at the band’s slightly more friendly mainstream rock side right off the bat. The former contains a pushing main riff, shimmering octaves above it, and a high-octane vocal delivery. This could easily be played on your local rock radio, but don’t take this as a bad thing. There’s also a fairly nice guitar solo, and overall, this is a contagious and fun rocker that leaves a fantastic impression. “Chemical Ride” slows down a little and focuses a little more on emotional reflection than straight rocking, similar to “You” by Breaking Benjamin or a much more melodic “Faceless” by RED. This track displays another facet different from the previous record: every song was over three minutes, one even reaching seven. This is the only 3YH song to date to clock in at just under three minutes. Still, it’s a great rock track and is overall very enjoyable, especially with the call-and-answer chorus, more shimmering octaves, and an energetic vocal delivery. “For Life” features Sevendust axeman Clint Lowery lending some of the best guitarwork of the whole record and is overall a much heavier number that could’ve easily been found on Ascension
. The drums also crash and roll throughout, becoming imprinted upon the listener’s mind. And the dual vocals in the chorus split between Jose and rhythm guitarist Neil are a nice touch and add much more depth to the track. Title track “The Cracks” is a fantastically emotional and diverse mid-tempo number featuring a catchy chorus, heavy riffing, chilled out verses, and even a guitar solo. You can literally feel the emotion bleeding out of this track. “Fallen” sounds exactly like the best of the heaviest from Ascension
and is a real highlight. “Run Away” manages to blend the catchiness and melody of the new material with the gut-busting riff heaviness of the former material and spices up the end of the record fairly well, as does “We Belong”. “Remember” is also a nice way to close the album off on a heavier note.
Lyrically, the band is the same as Ascension
, though profanity-free this time and slightly less angry and a little more pensive. This is fairly standard alt-metal lyrically, but if you like battles between dark and light, this is right up your alley. As for negatives, there’s a slight bit of filler and one almost wishes the band would throw in some other elements, like electronics or a string orchestra, to their formula, but further experimentation may be on the next album.
has some flaws, but the paint over them is so crisp and clear, they’re easy to miss. Though the heavier edge is missed a little, this is a better and more matured record as a whole. Keep an eye on this band, because their promises of greatness are anything but hollow.