Live Review: Our Hollow, Our Home, Sworn Amongst, and As I Was Hunted – La Belle Angèle, Edinburgh – 28/03/2017

With debut album ‘Hartsick’ not quite a month old and promotion for that release very much still in full swing, Our Hollow, Our Home take to the road for their biggest UK headline run yet. ‘Hartsick’ has met with widespread acclaim and the Southampton group continue to find themselves mentioned among the most hotly tipped metal acts of 2017. Edinburgh’s recently reopened La Belle Angèle marked the midway point in a tour bound for a climactic hometown show on April 7th.

The customary local support act are As I Was Hunted, a four-piece from Edinburgh. There are scarcely more people onstage than there are in the audience, yet the youngsters are evidently very nervous, possibly awed by what is likely their most prominent slot yet, and stumble through a short set. Singer Zoe Baines has a strong set of pipes, however, and proves herself to be more than capable of tackling lofty melodies that include an innovative version of Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’. AIWH could do worse than finding a second guitar player – a minimum number, in terms of the sound they seek to emulate. The band hurriedly gather their equipment to polite applause and make way for the billed acts. (2/5)

Sworn Amongst, the main support on all the UK shows, are not a group that will often be mentioned in the same breath as Our Hollow, Our Home. Roughly 260 miles separates Hull and Southampton, and a similarly considerable distance exists between the Northerners’ death-like metal and the headliners’ expansive polish. Standing in as frontman, Jack Kinsey of Monasteries demonstrates an impressive variety of screams that plough the depths of the most guttural, to high-pitched snarls and squeals. Melody forgone in favour of highly technical riffs and complex song structures, Sworn Amongst are a captivating presence, with Kinsey urging the crowd to “break their necks” to a furious ‘Under A Titan Sky’. While not going to quite that extreme, guitarists Jonny Barker and James Cooper swing their substantial hair vehemently to crushing breakdown after crushing breakdown, ensuring the lasting impression left by Sworn Amongst is one of metal performed impressively and without subtlety. (3/5)

Sporting their trademark uniform of black Nike and Adidas shorts, caps and socks, Our Hollow, Our Home will have been more than slightly disappointed to meet a crowd whose ticket sales probably scarcely paid for a day’s fuel for the tour van. However, the spirits of screamer and frontman Connor Hallisey do not appear dampened, as he exhibits a vibe and onstage persona that is both genuine and likeable – that rare thing: confidence without arrogance.

Despite the success of ‘Hartsick’ and its multitude of stirring metalcore bangers, OHOH decide to open only with the album’s introductory ‘The Sea Will Sleep’, before recreating the opening of 2015’s ‘//Redefine’ with ‘Heisenberg’ and ‘I Am The Eulogy’. Though there is a rawness to the older tracks live, the band excel when they utilise backing tracks and electronic sounds to their full potential, as is the case on record. Having likely focused their attention on perfecting the new material, these elements are most in evidence on the likes of ‘Worms Wood’ and ‘Throne To The Wolves’, where their sounds is full and powerful.

The ferocious ‘Karmadillo’ becomes even better here, Tobias Young’s clean vocals proving strong live. The fact that what impresses on ‘Hartsick’, such as ‘Loneshark’’s closing chant, translates to the stage well and begs for a packed, frenetic, sweaty, drunk room, something La Belle Angèle is anything but, bodes well for the potential of its songs.

If Edinburgh’s poor turnout is anything to go by, Our Hollow, Home will struggle to win new fans on this tour. The benefit of small headline shows for bands at this stage in their career has long been in doubt – festivals and profitable support slots are what they need to bring their hugely promising sound to the masses. Nonetheless, a resounding first album backed up by a convincing performance that is particularly impressive in sonic terms gives Our Hollow, Our Home sturdy foundations. 2017 continues to be a successful year for the group. (3.5/5)

3/5

Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)

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