Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 7/16/2006
Suffer Through Art
posted on 5/2007 By:
Man, empathy is a bitch. While the critic side of me wants to savage this five song effort, the human side of me—the side that isn’t all wires and circuits and doesn’t crap foul-smelling nuggets of hyperbole—wants me to hold Hollow Image in my arms and coo nonsensical praise into their ear like an inebriated Paula Abdul (“Hey, you made an album! You know…we all love you…”). Thing is, I don’t know why I’m now overcome with the deadly disease that is overblown sympathy, because, as band pictures and current recordings point out, Hollow Image has/had a serious love affair with nu-metal (Ya might be a nu-metaller if: One of your band members wears a bandanna like a sweatband and has skinny dreads). Maybe someone sprinkled some compassion on my muffin this morning (yuck), or maybe it’s just because I understand their dilemma: they need to adapt to a new music world that no longer accepts their old style. “How do we update the sound we like,” they’ll say, while running out to their tour van, tailed by an angry mob of mascara-wearing pit ninjas and desperately trying to remember which of the thousand of pant pockets holds their keys, “the sound that got us into music in the first place?” Well, I can tell you that mixing the hook-less groove of nu-metal with the first Martyr AD album isn’t going to do it.
There’s something terribly ironic about a band that writes lyrics like, “I don’t want to live forever/ In a world that turns its back on me,” while actively seeking acceptance from a more modern mainstream audience. Like a lot of bands, the source of Hollow Image’s angst is never isolated (or even mentioned) and they seem to be perpetually stuck in an adolescent mindset. This contradicts their musical “evolution” that does show some growth, even if it only amounts to jumping from one trend to another (at the very least, they’re interested in keeping things fairly current). Hollow Image relegates the remaining vestiges of their former nu-selves to the beginnings and endings of their compositions, meaning they often transition from Dry Kill Logic territory to straight-forward chugga-chugga and back again. Between the jump-da-fuck-uppery though, the band slips into a completely generic core mindset with the usual raw-throated roars, core leads, and palm-muted percussive riffing. And that’s kind of it. Hollow Image shows off their two gears, sloppy basic nu and sloppy basic new, on Suffer Through Art and nothing more.
If ever there were an album that was in dire need of a gigantic stupid breakdown that drops your IQ by twenty points and releases the same amount of energy as a brontosaurus fart, it’s this one. I can’t believe I’m advocating such an overused cliché, something that now measures close to post-rock crescendos on the eye-rolling, “Oh, this again?” scale, but Hollow Image truly, uh, suffers on Suffer Through Art because they never add any color, or really any paint (read: anything memorable), to their canvas. In an effort to adapt, they’ve just nicked the base elements, forgetting to flesh-out the played-out riffs. But, I get it. I understand. They’re in a state of flux, trying to pin down the sound that’s going to give them their adoring legions of fans. They’re more interested in working out the kinks of their frame instead of building anything on it. But, even if Hollow Image tightened up their tunes and started pouring the concrete, they’re not aiming high enough to be more than local heroes. Through it all, I can’t shake the feeling that fifty years from now, Suffer Through Art is going to be forced upon some bored-out-of-his-mind teenager at his grandpa’s house, wishing he could take back the question, “Did your band ever make it?” No, Jimmy. No it didn’t. But they tried and that’s what counts. Sort of.
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