Lower Hollow ALBUM: Bloom & Expire

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ARTIST: Lower Hollow
ALBUM: Bloom & Expire
RELEASE DATE: 31 March 2023

From the very first minor piano keys echoing through a swelling string section, the tone is set for what promises to be an intense journey through darkness that, ultimately, allows the listener to find a ray of light. This debut album from Jhb-based hardcore ensemble LOWER HOLLOW is as brutal as it is uplifting.

Featuring some of SA’s top-tier hardcore talent (vocalist Estian Smith, bassist Sean Gaisford, guitarists Kyle Robertson and Chad Smit, along with drummer Ashley De Beer), Lower Hollow cut its teeth behind closed doors for nearly two years refining a new source of intensity and energy. For vocalist Smith, the formation of this band and writing of the album “was a way to express what I felt was wrong with my world and life – cathartically projecting much of my negativity and frustration onto paper.”

The 10 songs on this blistering debut are proof that Lower Hollow spent a great deal of time honing their combined talents to create something that anyone and everyone across the alternative and metal spectrum can come together and celebrate. As Smith says: “My only desire is that listeners find some commonality and catharsis in knowing that if they feel anything I’m feeling, they aren’t alone in their anger, frustration, and sadness.”

I thought about mentioning a few standout tracks here, but the truth is this album as a whole is, quite literally, the standout track. It all works so perfectly together that breaking it down into pieces just doesn’t feel right. In a sense, ‘Bloom & Expire’ is actually a community of songs – and for that I commend Lower Hollow.

If you like bands like Misery Signals, Counterparts or The Ghost Inside you will absolutely LOVE Lower Hollow, and if you don’t like those bands, there is still plenty more on offer on this fast, melodic, broody, heavy and, ultimately, beautiful release.