Hollow Haze - Countdown to Revenge
Scarlet Records
Symphonic Metal / Melodic Power Metal
11 songs (53:47)
Release year: 2013
Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Metalette

Combine strings, synth, and brass (as performed by the Wintermoon Orchestra) with powerful metal riffs, shredding leads, and the vocals of Fabio Lione and you get Hollow Haze’s newest album. And it’s one you can most definitely rock the hell out to.

One of my favorite elements of the album is the use of orchestrated intros for many of the songs. Watching In Silence, No Rest For The Angels, and We Must Believe are grand examples of such epic intros. Ominous, striking, and of film-score quality, the intros foreshadow the songs and instill a sense of urgency and anticipation. They’re very well-executed intros, and blend seamlessly into the entirety of each song once the guitars kick in.

To no one’s surprise and everyone’s delight, Fabio Lione’s vocals deliver a pro amount of power and heaviness throughout the entire album. Truly, how could an album not be awesome with Lione’s distinctive voice at the forefront? He brings an already impressive album to an even higher caliber with vocals that are clean and dignified, yet at the same time raw and hostile.

Lione’s vocal style on the album is a perfect complement to the music, which is majestic, exotic, and quite wicked. The riffs are tasty and the solos even tastier – have I ever mentioned how much I love an album that includes a lead in every song? Well I do, and Hollow Haze brings out a whole arsenal of righteous leads throughout the tracks.

Two of the songs I like best on the album are Still Alive and Il Tempo Del Fuoco. Still Alive attacks your ears right away with a pure, heavy-as-f**k riff and doesn’t stop the heaviness for the whole song. The chorus is melodic, with deep drums and great symphony, and makes you want to mightily raise a fist to the sky and sing along. And the lead just shreds, man. Il Tempo Del Fuoco is grandiose and symphonic, with excellent guitar harmonies and a bridge that hits hard. While solemn, it has a valiant upbeat-ness to the chorus that really hooks me. In both songs, Lione belts it out wonderfully, and I'd love to hear them both live.

My only complaint: the instrumental songs (intro Room 212 and outro The Gate To Nowhere…) just don’t do much for me. They’re those tracks that you listen to once when you hear the album as a whole, and then probably never touch again by themselves. They do, however, serve to tie the album together in a nice package, and they make sense with the sound as a whole. So while I’m rarely a fan of the intro/outro instrumentals, Hollow Haze pulls it off tastefully.

Altogether, Countdown to Revenge stands strong as an album with ambitious orchestration, legendary vocals, and exceptional musicianship.

Killing Songs :
Watching In Silence, Still Alive, Il Tempo Del Fuoco
Metalette quoted 83 / 100
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