Hollowstar – ‘Hollowstar’

Hollowstar Cover

Hollowstar – ‘Hollowstar’
Self-Released
Release Date: 03/05/2019
Running Time: 39:23
Review by Paul Monkhouse
9/10

With more and more of the major bands calling it a day as farewell tours by legends such as Sabbath, UFO, Skynyrd, Slayer, Ozzy and others seemingly signal the end of an era, it would be very easy to get too concerned about the future of rock and metal. Truth be told, whilst some of the giants are waving long goodbyes, there are plenty of fantastic bands constantly emerging to inject fresh blood into the scene and acts like Zeppelin, Metallica and Queen had to pay their dues and work their way up in the same way this new generation are. Whilst fame can be found by appearing on talent shows, that is virtually always fleeting, but grassroots artists are going out and playing every pub, hall and festival they can as they learn and grow their skills the hard way. Hollowstar are one such band, road-dogs who are constantly travelling the length and breadth of the country to growing acclaim and with this, the Cambridgeshire quartet’s self-titled debut album, they have shown that all the hard work has paid off.

Few times was the phrase “kicking things off” more apt than with opener ‘Take It All’ as it absolutely blasts out, its rampaging riff hitting you like a freight train. Singer/bass player Joe Bonsons vocals come through urgent and forceful to back this as all four members of Hollowstar bring the experience of those hard-fought hours touring to bear on a powerful distillation of their craft that has translated incredibly well to the recording studio. ‘Let You Down’ and ‘Invincible’ both share a strutting, cocky swagger that are full of the youthful energy that melds classic rock with a very modern sound, a huge part of the growing attraction to the band. Things slow down a little with the more laid back ‘Think of Me’, filled as it is with tenderness and feeling. Such is the songwriting and thought about the flow of the album that this easing of the pace doesn’t kill the momentum but just gives a much-needed breather. Many bands, especially the newer ones, fall into the trap of delivering one note records that are all bluster but no colour. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with Hollowstar and, as such, this debut exudes quality that is built to last.

More of this maturity is shown in ‘Money’ as it showcases the superb intonation of the vocals as Bonson echoes some of the giant front men of the past. Phil Haines and Tom Collett’s guitars also take no prisoners as they add grit and drive to the track which builds beautifully driven by Bonson’s bass and brother Jack Bonson’s drums. A real highlight comes with ‘All I Gotta Say’ that has a riff and bluster that could demolish buildings but also a real sense of dynamics which adds to the heightened drama and epic feel of the track. ‘Good Man Gone’ is another steamroller and ‘Overrated’ is a maelstrom of sound that brings together scuzzy hard rock that is shot through with a real ‘Southern’ feel.

Closing duo ‘Down by the Water’ and ‘Sinner’ are perfect in structure and are full on declarations that the band have arrived and stake their claim on the scene. Brilliantly produced by Dan Lambert, the album is relatively short by some standards these days but presents itself as a lean and dangerous prospect that, as a lot of classic albums do, gets in, does the job and gets out. These are tracks that should be played on stages at arenas, stadiums and huge festivals and the opportunities to do just that keep on coming in. If they carry on like this there is no limit to what Hollowstar can achieve. Buy this album and see them live as this is one party you certainly don’t want to be late to.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Take It All
02. Let You Down
03. Invincible
04. Think of Me
05. Money
06. All I Gotta Say
07. Good Man Gone
08. Overrated
09. Down By The Water
10. Sinner

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/HollowstarOfficial/

https://www.instagram.com/hollowstarband/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpnRcJGcki7-tX_9za9yW1w

 

Hollowstar Promo Pic - Please Credit Volcanic Rock Photography

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Photograph supplied courtesy of Volcanic Rock Photography

UFO ‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’ – The Junction, Cambridge – 22/03/2019

Hi, it’s Rick!

I’d like to send out huge thanks to photographer Daniel Ackerley-Holmes for allowing us to use his awesome photos to accompany Paul’s review of the UFO gig, especially on what looks to be their final tour.

You can check out more of Daniel’s work at his website
https://www.danielackerley.co.uk

 

A full review of the gig can be found here:

UFO ‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’ – The Junction, Cambridge – 22/03/2019

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Daniel Ackerley-Holmes . It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

UFO ‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’ – The Junction, Cambridge – 22/03/2019

Tour Flyer

UFO
‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’
The Junction, Cambridge
22/03/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse & Photo by Daniel Ackerley-Holmes

Very few bands in rock are as legendary as UFO. Since forming in the late 60’s theirs has been a mercurial and notorious history, filled with fights, stellar musicians and peerless songwriting. When last year main man Phil Mogg announced his intention to retire, tickets for this 50th anniversary became some of the most eagerly awaited and sought after and rightly so. The ‘Last Orders Tour’ is a cherry-picked celebration of some of the finest slices of hard rock ever to be committed to tape.

When the lights dimmed and a bar bell rang, one by one the band strolled onto stage and tore into opening number Let It Roll like it was freshly minted. Buoyed by the ecstatic reaction of a packed crowd the band tackled the material with a passion that mixed their seasoned professionalism with a sense of genuinely having an absolute ball onstage.

Mogg in particular was in truly great form, looking fit and lean, cracking jokes between songs and with a voice that arguably sounded the best it ever has. With old friends and foils Andy Parker on the drums and Paul Raymond on keys and guitar it was a joy to see these three on stage providing a masterclass of muscular and melodic music. The two ‘new’ boys Rob De Luca and Vinnie Moore more than held up their ends, De Luca meshing perfectly with Parker to provide a tight rhythm section that pinned down the grooves of the songs with élan and Moore firmly stamping his own identity into tracks previously played by ex UFO alumni and world class six stringer Michael Schenker.

This wasn’t though just an exercise in nostalgia as newer tracks such as Baby Blue, Burn Your House Down and a brilliant Messiah of Love from 2015s ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’ stood shoulder to shoulder with the classics. In fact, along with a outstanding solo on Ain’t No Baby, the acoustic guitarwork on these three were some of the highlights of the evening and showed why Moore was such a great choice to replace the, once more, departing Schenker in 2003. Be it the interplay with the superb keys of Raymond or his own showcase during the extended workout of Rock Bottom Moore truly put his heart into his playing.

All you could wish for and more was played with each song being greeted like an old friend. Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me and Cherry came in a rush of euphoria and a truly epic Love to Love was enough to make grown men cry, such was its magnificence. With the unbeatable one / two punch of set closers Too Hot to Handle and the aforementioned Rock Bottom there was only one way to come out for the encore. The moment the familiar glistening keyboard started and was joined by the tasteful guitar work, shivers ran down spines as the place erupted. This turned into the out and out adrenaline rush of THAT riff as every single voice in the place sang the titular opening lines “Doctor Doctor please…”. Probably the first song that most people get to hear by UFO, this is still one of the greatest tracks in rock and something that is seen as the bands very own calling card. Following that was nigh on impossible but a triumphant Shoot Shoot rounded off the night perfectly on part of what is potentially going to be the tour of the year. No-one quite knows what the future holds for UFO but even if this is their swan song they couldn’t go out in finer style. Absolutely unmissable.

LINKS:
http://www.ufo-music.info/
https://www.facebook.com/UFOofficial/

DANIEL ACKERLEY-HOLMES PHOTOGRAPHY
https://www.danielackerley.co.uk

 

RockSinsUFO32

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Photo supplied courtesy of Daniel Ackerley-Holmes