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Align the Tide – ‘Hollow’

Cleopatra Records
Harms Way, Nicolas Cage Fighter, Source of Rage, ClubMurder, Voluntary Mortification, The Bearer
Release Date
Cleopatra Records
Groove Metal/Deathcore/Hardcore

Align the Tide from Malta bring us metal that is empowering and energetic. There’s a complementary blend of genres that even with its diversity results in a surprisingly cohesive sound. The band mixes groove metal a la Lamb of God with deathcore like Thy Art is Murder and hardcore in the vein of Harm’s Way. The record is an onslaught from beginning to end. It was nice to have a metal album get straight to business. There’s no ambient or symphonic intro. It gives you a harmonic minor hook and then gets right into the riffs.

Danny Dalli’s on drums maintains an inflexible groove throughout while adding thump to Nikki Buttigieg’s riffs. The rhythm section which includes Gabriel Camilleri on bass should be commended here. There’s a lot of movement on this record but they still keep the pocket tight. The rhythm guitar from the aforementioned Buttigieg produced several head-bobbing moments. There weren’t many riffs that I’ll remember in the future but sitting in the moment they were performed and recorded well enough to still instill head-banging.

The real star of this record is the lead guitar from Jonathan Camilleri. The solos and fills on Hollow are elite. He couldn’t be any better without being in a tech death or progressive band. Camilleri has the perfect blend of speed, tone, and note choice. His solos while fast are never outside the pocket. This album is truly a display of the goods for Jonathan.

 The vocals by Kievan G. Young are powerful and executed with resonance that perfectly matches the intensity of the band. However, the vocals are performed with similar cadences and deliveries throughout the record. The band provides a diverse set of soundscapes on several songs but the vocals are consistent throughout. The consistency is impressive but it also stops a good record from being great. The listener is constantly wowed by the guitar work and groove but becomes habituated to the power of the vocals a little past the halfway mark. It’s not that the band is incapable. The exception to this rule is on the song ‘Arise’.  This song includes clean singing that is accompanied by Young’s powerful roar. A small to moderate amount of this vocal diversity could elevate the album. 

"an onslaught from beginning to end"

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