Ov Hollowness: The World Ends

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Ov Hollowness: The World Ends
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Ov Hollowness: The World Ends
Atmospheric Black Metal
Code666
March 19th, 2013
Release length: 1:15:12
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Ov Hollowness is a Canadian one-piece Atmospheric Black Metal band. This effort is helmed by none other than Mark R., also known for his other recent one man operations Arkodsemik and Lost Resolve. This project formed back in 2009, finding it’s first demo release in 2010. From there, Diminished, the debut self-released full-length album, was made available before being the act was picked up by Hypnotic Dirge Records in 2011 to issue the follow-up recording, Drawn to Descend. Two years later, Ov Hollowness finds itself attached to Code666 Records for the third full-length release, The World Ends. But, does this album end up making Canada look grim and melancholic through atmospheric material, or does this release not quite live up to the expectations of the every day Black Metal fan?

Right away, one of the biggest issues with The World Ends ends up being the audio. While it does have a modern digital sound to it, there appears to be a great deal of static in the distortions that makes it a little harder to get into. Nothing is sharp, instead the riffs have more of a buzzing to them that is full of additional distracting noise. The bass is moderately deep, though does give the music a nice little click. The drumming has its pros and cons as well, finding tighter snares that sometimes don’t have much bite, a rich click of the bass kicks, and somewhat louder cymbals that appear to have a bit of washout on them, but that could also just be from the static-driven distortions and slightly restrained production. The vocals are nothing major, but have a consistant mid-range rhasp with a nice echo effect thrown on to give it a slightly eerie atmosphere. The World Ends isn’t really a raw recording, but you can’t help to think Mark was trying to go this route if the audio here was intentional, and not due to budgetary or technical restrictions.

But, if you can look past the audio issues, this does still boast some really good material, such as the song “Hoarfrost.” One of the earliest aggressive tracks, it finds less disrortion on the rhythm guitars, coming off a bit sharper, though the deep static leads still remain. Thankfully, the latter doesn’t stick out as much as other tracks. The controlled drumming helps out a lot too, limiting the cymbals and focusing on the rest of the kit more. The song does shift to a moody, saddening guitar solo that sounds great with the shift in atmosphere, though this change doesn’t really need to exist in the first place. However, from here things do get a bit more intense, such as with the following track, “An End.” Not too concerned about ambience or atmospheres, this second-wave Black Metal track is a little more ruthless, and even catchy in some bridges thanks to cleaner, haunting hooks. There is a melancholic tone to the song’s enthusiasm, especially in the guitar solo, as well as the energetic vocals. The static still remains, but the music is solid and rich enough that it isn’t as obvious on some of the slower, emptier offerings, making it far less distracting, and even natural to the flow.

For the most part though, this album does focus on slower tracks that really push atmosphere. “Abstractive” introduces this approach with some wind coming by for a brief amount of time, going into a bit of a mid-tempo pace with powerful, rich guitars, and a strong drum presence. Some of the melodic hooks stand out as well, offering varied melancholic, or battle glory style atmospheres that work hand in hand to create a rich atmosphere. However, the loud static appears once more, greatly taking away from its bite, distracting you a little more than it really should have. Then there’s “Lost Resolve,” moving just shy of a mid-tempo pace, though the bass kicks make it seem faster than it is. The riffs here often introduce some melancholic environments that can be moving at times, especially when laced with distant clean singing. This also leads to some deeper sounding music, as well as a haunting solo, that really suits the environment this and other similar songs give off.

But, not all songs meet in those two environments. “The World Ends” is definitely an interesting addition, if not what you expect at that point in the album. The song shows early first wave Black Metal ideals, but at times can carry a groove and atmosphere similar to a Sludge Metal track. The somewhat rougher harmonized vocals can really push that tone, as well as some of the tighter, shorter riffs in plenty of areas. It does feel out of place with the grand scheme of the recording, but this title track is still at least engaging, and even finds the static in the distortions quite beneficial despite the guitars being a bit cleaner, and the cymbals far more in the forefront. The only other time this album seems to violate the Atmospheric Black Metal approach is the “Outro,” which is a creepy, dismal Ambient piece with additional keyboards and effects, such as wind whipping by, all of which creates a very impressive conclusion that really shines through, making you wish Ov Hollowness had focused a little more time on material like it throughout instead of just this one entry.

All in all, The World Ends isn’t the strongest of Atmospheric Black Metal efforts, but that’s largely due to the heavy amount of static found in the music that is very distracting, hurting the level of enjoyment you will have with the songs as well. Had that been a little more limited, things would definitely be different. Despite that, there’s plenty of great music found behind it, and many of the songs end up rather memorable, especially when it lays on the dismal charm more than the melancholic. If you enjoy some emotion in this style, and want to see more of the potential that Canada offers fans of the Black Metal field, then Ov Hollowness is definitely a solid one man project that is still worth checking out.

01. Abstractive – 9:27
02. Grey – 5:57
03. Hoarfrost – 8:44
04. An End – 4:32
05. Ov – 7:32
06. The World Ends – 10:22
07. Lost Resolve – 6:54
08. Hollow – 8:17
09. End in View – 7:22
10. Outro – 6:05
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Ov Hollowness (band)
Ov Hollowness

Digital review copy of this release provided by Code666 Records via Aural Music.