Ov Hollowness - Drawn to Descend
Hypnotic Dirge
Black Metal/Rock
6 songs (48:27)
Release year: 2011
Hypnotic Dirge
Reviewed by Charles
Here is something to prod at the curious minds of more adventurous black metal fans. Ov Hollowness may- to an extent- appeal to those that were drawn in by the moody rock-influenced melancholia of erstwhile blackened bands like Todtgelichter. Indeed, I’d characterise its best moments in largely that way. Drawn to Descend, though, also embraces a wholeheartedly traditionalist bent at other points, meaning it is a difficult record to draw decisive conclusions about. Disparate influences may run together with results that are sometimes distinctive though rarely explosive. Conventional black metal mingles with some much more vividly melodic rock influences and gloomy gothic chord progressions. Sometimes these combinations evoke surprising grace and power, though at other points this will to experiment vanishes perplexingly, leaving us with something a bit more pedestrian.

Perhaps the second most interesting artefact here (we’ll get to the first later) is first track Old and Colder. It is a curious blend of ideas, shuffling through a melancholic chord progression that might grace the strains of a Paradise Lost album, with a floating, slow rock beat to back it up. But this is all delivered with a crackling guitar tone more reminiscent of depressive Quebecois Gris than anyone else (Ov Hollowness is also from Canada), and the vocals have a deeply unpleasant blackened rasp. The effect is distinctive: the blacks and greys of the vocals and guitar tones bleeding into the mellower melodic tones of the harmonies and rhythms.

The odd combinations of this opening, of course, colour the listener’s perception of the rest of the record, and its memory perhaps makes the more orthodox tracks feel somewhat anticlimactic. The title track, for instance, is really quite unremarkable: a long expanse of relatively nondescript blasting which lacks the ferocity to really convince as black metal. It doesn’t really justify its eight minutes running time. Similarly, Winds Forlorn is a plain, rather dry, trudge through mid-tempo black metal with the odd melodic trimming.

But at other times- mainly where it strays further from the blackened influences- Ov Hollowness gets things just right. Desolate is a darkly convincing mix of striding post-rock gloom, alternating with cutaways to creepy Burzumic sound effects. However the best track here is closer The Darkness- coincidentally also the shortest. It has a hard rock swagger, which is corrupted by the blackened crackle of the guitar tone and vocals but still manages to incorporate a proper legs-akimbo lead solo (the album’s undisputable highpoint). All in all, the mixed-bag nature of Drawn to Descend perhaps reflects its roughly equal division between orthodox black metal and a more characterful blackened rock hybrid. It’s the latter which are more original, and probably also better executed.

Killing Songs :
The Darkness, Old and Colder, Desolate
Charles quoted 70 / 100
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