Over the past two decades, the “Do It Yourself” culture that dates back to the dawn of punk rock has been immeasurably boosted by the rise of the internet. Bands and artists now have access to a vast range of tools that enable them to write, record, release, and promote their music in whichever way they deem appropriate. Although the traditional music business still exists, the question of whether or not it remains the best possible option available to musically creative people is constantly and passionately debated by musicians, industry types, and fans across the world.
Our Hollow, Our Home certainly stand as proof that you don’t necessarily need to rely on the time-honored record label route in order to get ahead. Hailing from the south coast of the UK and constantly mentioned in the same breath as fellow Brits Architects, Bury Tomorrow, and While She Sleeps, Our Hollow, Our Home are now preparing to drop their second self-released LP. In Moment // In Memory follows and builds upon last year’s Hartsick—a strong but fairly stock metalcore set that established these guys as ones to watch—and looks sure to catapult Our Hollow, Our Home into the league shared by their aforementioned peers. Not bad for a group of dedicated DIY enthusiasts.
For all the benefits afforded to a band when they strike out on their own, there are naturally also negative points to consider. The time, and energy, consuming nature of running a band as a self-contained business is one of the most pressing; live shows and tours can be tough to organize and execute, even without the added pressure of writing and recording new music and finding ways to take care of the administrative side of any commercial endeavor. Throw in personal problems and emotional difficulties, and you have an extremely volatile situation on your hands.
As its title indicates, In Moment // In Memory concerns one of the most emotionally devastating and psychologically traumatic experiences a human being can go through—namely the loss of a loved one. Tobias Young, who takes care of both vocal and guitar duties in Our Hollow, Our Home alongside standalone vocalist Connor Hallisey and co-axeman Josh White, was forced to watch his father battle and eventually die from lung cancer last year. That’s a fucked-up situation by anyone’s standards, something any person would struggle to process and recover from.
This album represents Tobias’s journey by leading the listener through psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In Moment // In Memory is structured around all of them. After a short track named after a given stage of grief, two full-length songs follow—and that arrangement naturally repeats itself five times. The end goal is to explore grief in all its forms. In that respect, this album succeeds.
Unsurprisingly, In Moment // In Memory is heavy as fuck—not just in terms of the music, but also its lyrical content and the visceral performances put in by every band member. This album sounds like a group of friends and comrades clustering around one of their own and backing him up as he fights a fight that is always worth fighting. Through the medium of face-breaking beatdowns, pedal-point riffage, bone-warping grooves, and painstakingly composed choruses, Our Hollow, Our Home simultaneously support one of their own and make a point of offering the listener a soundtrack to their own internal war.
Bar a handful of below-par moments, such as “Divisions (The Exchange)”, this album repeatedly crushes it. The advance track “Speak of Sorrow” could rip you a new one from across a crowded room; early cut “In Moment” features a brief, chilling, ambulance-siren-imitating melodic break; and the riffs presented throughout “Wraiths” are just plain ridiculous, in the best way possible. Lyrically, every song serves the album as a whole no matter how strong it may or may not be in isolation, but in the end, In Moment // In Memory can best be summed up with a Rainer Maria Rilke line quoted right before the brutality begins.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”