Hollow Haze - 'Memories Of An Ancient Time'

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Hollow Haze - 'Memories Of An Ancient Time'

Bristling Power Metal with bags of melody and a few Progressive moments.

It's a problem many bands have faced... how do you replace a fantastic singer known for their power and presence without losing your identity? In the case of Hollow Haze, the answer is you don't, you replace him, Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire/Angra), with FIVE fantastic singers and to hang with continuity! It's a brave move and braver still when you realise two of the new voices are female, meaning the HH sound really has really moved on from their previous album, 'Countdown To Revenge'.

So who are these fresh talents? Well on the female side we are treated to contributions from Amanda Somerville (Kiske-Somerville/Avantasia) and Claudia Layline (Serenade), while the hat-trick of males are Mats Leven (Therion/Yngwie), Ivan Giannini (Derdian) and Rick Altzi (Masterplan) – yes, we're talking serious firepower here! And it's put to good use, the quintet are given time to shine in their own right and plenty of opportunity to bounce vocal ideas and approaches off each other along the way.

However, let's not forget that this isn't just a singing convention, it's a HH album and a damn fine one it is too. The second in a trilogy which started with 'Countdown...', 'Memories Of An Ancient Time' is bristling Power Metal with bags of melody and a few Progressive moments, reminding me of Avantasia visiting the land of Kamelot.

If that isn't a fine starting point, then I'm not sure what is; across emotional emanations such as 'Gate To The Eternity', the hammer smashes and Operatic vocals of 'Silvertown' and the atmospheric build into confident Melodic Metal of 'Eyes Of The Sphinx', not a moment is wasted. Grandiose themes are expounded with a real eye for precise power.

All the while, the theatrical side of what HH provide adds another dimension; 'Rain Of Fire Lights' raised from standard galloping romp into a tale of real potency and 'Created To Live' a sing along of ridiculous proportions where you'll find yourself howling out "life and death were written by the aliens, for the aliens..." over and over, much to the amazement of those around you!

Many bands crumble at the prospect of finding a new vocal-focal point for their music. With 'Memories Of An Ancient Time', Hollow Haze have used it to expand their sound and expertly further their cause.

Steven Reid

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