Thursday 12 May 2022

MNRVA - Hollow (Album Review)

Release Date: May 20th 2022. Record Label: Black Doomba Records. Format: CD/DD

Hollow - Tracklisting

Not The One

With FIre

Third Eye



Black Sky

No Solution

The Way


Byron Hawk - Guitar/Vocals

Kevin Jennings - Bass/Vocals

Gina Ercolini - Drums


Hollow is the new album by "FUZZ" obsessed Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metallers MNRVA and it's a rousing record of different styles from the collective underground scene. Taking influence from bands such as Electric Wizard, Mastodon, Black Sabbath and The Melvins. Intense Psychedelic Gloomy Vibes offset against a thundering Prog Sludge/Stoner Metal vibe that even leaves enough room for the band to add a seedier style of FUZZ ROCK.

The vocals whilst on the more grizzled side of things are mostly clean based and offer MNRVA a more threatening presence to their music. The music is varied and has many different layers of Sludge/Stoner Metal even with the gloomy atmospherics lurking in the background. 

Opening song Not The One is an homage to mostly Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard with the "AMPLIFIER" heavy distorted guitar tones moving along at a cracking pace. The sound does become quite FUZZ based and progressive early on. So you'll get used to MRNVA style of music very early on. The lyrics are superb that provide a haunting backdrop for the vocals to soar against. The song and maybe the whole album offers a first rate "seedy" style of music that is quite original in places. 

Second song With Fire has a Post-Doom flavour with loud volume levels of guitar riffs confidently appearing with a subtle Psychedelic sound allowing the band to add even more distorted levels of gloomy heaviness. The vocals from both Byron and Kevin have a classic OLD SCHOOL feel to them. With Gina's fantastic drums moving the song at a cracking pace. 

Third song Third Eye is one of the standout tracks as it has an awesome "Stadium Rock'' feel with the superb lyrics and soaring vocals. DIstortion is key here with both the music and vocals with MNRVA creating an almost "ANTHEMIC'' song but still retaining that DOOM Metal mentality within the creaking areas of Sludge/Stoner parts that appear. Maybe classic sounding Black Sabbath in places but that's no bad thing. The song does have some of the best guitar solos contained on the album right here. The lyrics are very surreal and quite trippy which was an unexpected surprise.

Fourth song Hollow is where the Mastodon and maybe Melvins aspect comes into play with a more Prog Sludge based attitude from this hugely talented power trio. The vocals are quite different but still fits into the eerie atmosphere. The music is quite slow paced with a more "Drone" feeling to them. Things do become faster and more threatening around the ninety second mark when the music moves up a gear with a more "demonic" vibe directing the action. This is another standout track on the album.

Four songs down and four more to go with MNRVA expanding their gloomy based sound with strong lyrics and excellent vocals making a lasting impression especially on songs such as: Befall, Black Sky and The Way. Perhaps more Doom Metal orientated compared to the first half of the record though there's still enough Sludge/Stoner Metal moments of madness for the band to drown out your hearing with.

The album has mighty impressive production values with everything sounding LOUD and FRESH from start to  finish. 

Hollow is an unexpected violent delight that sees MNRVA ooze confidence on every part of this album. If you dig your grooves with extra bite and aggression then MNRVA has the answer right here. 

This is a first rate musical adventure into the darker and FUZZIER depths of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal and one that still offers plenty of different surprises along the way.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to C Squared Music for the promo.

Hollow will be available to buy on CD/DD via Black Doomba Records from May 20th 2022. 


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