Review Summary: I will see this through until end; In Moment // In Memory.
At this point, I never quite know what to expect from a new-school metalcore act in terms of quality; the genre hasn’t exactly had the best luck over the past decade. There has been no shortage of questionable decisions by metalcore bands, whether it be older acts watering their sound down in order to reach a larger audience or newer acts attempting to sound like a second-rate Meshuggah clone. At least, that’s where the more mainstream wing of the genre is concerned. For every fun, engaging band that implemented other styles within their sound tastefully that popped up, there were equally as many uninteresting and run-of-the-mill acts that relied on their relative “heaviness” to hold their sound together while they mindlessly chug along to their heart's’ content. Our Hollow, Our Home belongs in the former category. 2017’s Hartsick
was a wonderful mixture of melodic metalcore and melodic hardcore, showing massive amounts of potential despite a few loose ends that needed to be tied up, and this follow-up album is not much different in that regard.
In spite of some of the more questionable stylistic choices, In Moment // In Memory
showcases them in a way that isn’t nearly as obnoxious as they could have been. Apart from the occasional vocal passage that doesn’t flow particularly well with the music, like in “Weight & Carriage”, there isn’t a ton to critique on that note. There are still a nice batch of infectious melodies, the emotions expressed on the album are done so competently, and despite its length, the band provides to the listener more hits than misses. Of course, this is still a metalcore album, so your mileage may vary as far as enjoyment is concerned. The commonly used “scream the verse/sing the chorus” vocal dynamic is in full force, and the clean singing isn’t overbearing in the mix. Clean singer Tobias Young bears a slight resemblance to Jeremy McKinnon, and screamer Connor Hallisey sounds a tad like Whitechapel vocalist Phil Bozeman at some points. The breakdowns are well-placed, with a notable example of such being on the interlude “//Anger”, which features some of the most aggressive musicianship on the album. While they don’t break much ground when it comes to innovation, the band manages to provide a solid atmosphere, being most substantial in its softer moments, ala “Parting Gift”.
Within its forty-five minute runtime, In Moment // In Memory
takes the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - and applies them in a way that is easily relatable to anyone who went through the grief cycle. Bands writing of loss and the emotional turmoil that comes after in this way is nothing new, but as its societal importance continues to climb, a well-done concept album surrounding the theme of grief may end up becoming all the more necessary. Similar to Adept’s Sleepless,
the bleak existential outlook is typical of those who are grieving. While that album primarily focused on relationships ending, this one is broader if only by a slight margin; while “Weight & Carriage” is clearly about a decaying love, “Father & Ghost” entails that the writer felt regret following the passing of someone close to them, as do tracks like “In Moment” and “Parting Gift”. As a result, the album brings to the table an intense emotional aura that is difficult to ignore. While it may be easy to nitpick and poke fun at lines like “she had eyes like no other” on their own, they’re not as much of a drawback as one would assume. The way each line is delivered is authentic enough that a few missed shots most likely wouldn’t ruin the vibe the band seeks to create. Hartsick
brought up some of these issues as well, but in a much smaller quantity.
Overall, the second studio release from Our Hollow, Our Home is a success. The curse of the “sophomore slump” may have made other bands stumble, but this is similar enough in quality to Hartsick
to declare victory. It’s been said that some artists have a tendency to write more inspired material after an emotional pitfall, and In Moment // In Memory
serves to prove that adage once again, given the subject matter. At forty-five minutes, this effort outlasts its predecessor slightly, but although it does occasionally feel as if it could use some further refinements and a bit of necessary trimming, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Along with Villain of the Story, they prove that you don’t need to rely on a record label’s promotion cycle to get your name out there; their Spotify listener stats even surpass that of some older major label acts, with roughly about 150 thousand monthly listeners. Our Hollow, Our Home is certainly an ambitious band with all things considered, but their existent potential allows said ambition to be presented as well as it is here.