Review – The Hillinoise: My Sleeping Butterfly

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Club Inferno Ent.
  • Release Date: June 18th, 2015
  • Genre: Adult Contemporary, Depressive/Gothic Rock
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

The Hillinoise is a band that stands as a mixture of alternative and gothic rock, though it’s hard to ignore some of their adult contemporary traits as far as their music goes. The four-piece female fronted group from Basilicata, Italy, originally formed in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2015 that they started releasing material from the studio. Earlier this year, they dropped their debut album, Sorriso Plastico, which was followed months later with a brand new EP titled My Sleeping Butterfly. But do the three tracks which compose that latter effort really capture the interest of the listener, or is it a fairly lacklustre collection of songs?

My Sleeping Butterfly captures that intimate environment of the darker gothic rock approach with a crisp audio quality set across a sea of stars in the midnight sky, allowing the guitars sound soft, sometimes a bit dulled in order to play up the alternative rock side of the group’s output. It cuts down on held notes, sometimes cutting them off to leave things a bit barren, but sounding fairly fluid in the faster cuts as opposed to the more obstructed state in the slower segments. These are accompanied with a great sounding drum kit and the vibrant twang of the bass guitar akin to what one might expect on a Cynic album. The vocals, however, have a slight echo, yet are much louder in the mix to match the overall laid back tone of the music itself.

Of course, fans of adult contemporary will also feel at home musically, especially with Daniela Stefanelli’s vocals and how they can sound more like Alanis Morrisette‘s at times. This isn’t a bad thing really, as the more enthusiastic approach still fits the relaxed tone of the EP perfectly, and even hypnotically as “Sleeping Beauty” shows off. The closing of that performance does take on a bit of an occult-like tone, though shiftin a bit into madness thanks to the harsher guitar hooks towards the end met with the varying pulse and twang of the bass guitar, as well as some astral effects towards the very end. It’s an interesting conclusion given the progressive melodies on display throughout that can easily lift your mind away if you close your eyes and allow the catchy music to take you away across the vast darkened landscapes that move by like pure liquid.

While that closing track is one that really sticks out as a far more diverse offering, “Lighter” stands as it’s equal when it comes to how soothing it can be, if not moreso. The bass guitar heavy track is mixed with softer, distortion-less riffs that move along at a slower pace in the candlelit recording studio, picking up a little energy in the chorus that takes things into a far more passionate world that embraces you like a lover, reminiscent of the emotional performances by Lotta Höglin on the Beseech album Sunless Days. But then there’s “Nymphetamine”, which is one of the stronger alternative rock cuts of the release, creating an upbeat presence on par with Breaking Benjamin, which is thanks largely to the way the bass sounds. While still enjoyable, it’s more of a traditional radio friendly piece that isn’t quite as memorable as the other two.

The Hillinoise

My Sleeping Butterfly has a lot going for it in so many ways. The mixture of modern rock values with gothic/darkwave ideas laced with hints of adult contemporary make for a soothing and passionate release that is pretty hard to walk away from. Of course, this isn’t going to be for everyone. The Hillinoise present a recording that needs to be heard with a bit of an open mind thanks to the range of musical comparisons that range from Tool to Beseech and many in between. But, if you’re willing to look past some of the traits that still keep it grounded just enough in the mainstream world (i.e. “Nymphetamine”), you’ll find a beautiful recording in My Sleeping Butterfly you won’t soon regret hearing.

Digital review copy of this release provided by Club Inferno Ent. via My Kingdom Music.