The 69 of 2014

Review

by Leela McMullen, chi.yow, Aki, Amy, posted January 1, 2015

AlbumsSingles

Hollowgram – Qualia

HOLLOWGRAM have finally managed to get their first album out after almost a year in the scene. A mishmash of artists came together to form this band who consequently made quite a splash. The flagship album Qualia was succeeded by two alternate versions known as Rufus and Albus but the track lists of these vary very little in comparison to the original.

Album opener “ideologue” is deceivingly languid with the melody snaking around a deep bass tone but this is punctured by a sudden burst of heavier vocals from ryo. “Pleasance Liddell” follows with electronic influences and a more aggressive approach. It is vastly different in tone to the previous number and herein lies the charm of HOLLOWGRAM. Despite ryo’s distinct vocals, the band manages to carve its own distinct image in each piece, a fact made clear by the variety of songs found in Qualia.

The album takes an acoustic direction for “Silhouette;” a gorgeous blend of strings layered with ryo’s silky tones. The slightly jazzy “Butterfly in her dreams” is then interestingly led by yuki on bass and showcases some piano, most likely with kazuya on the keys as he plays a multi-instrumental role in the band, including keyboards and guitar.

Clearly eager to not have listeners forget he can do more with his voice, ryo launches into a growling assault for the peculiarly titled “Stand the devil’s like.” Though it features some interesting guitar tones, appreciation for this track may be divided amongst listeners as it can come across as a mass of sound. Meanwhile, “Don’t cry for the knell” would not go amiss as the opening for a drama with its happy-go-lucky melody. It has the added bonus of a very strong bass line, too.

This short but alluring release is brought to a close by “mistletoe.” HOLLOWGRAM play to their strengths once more in this number, keeping the vocals calm and soft and the instrumentals subtle yet effective. “mistletoe” is a fitting last track which has a definitive sense to it. In other words, it sounds like a full stop—but hopefully not forever, as it will be interesting to see where 2015 takes HOLLOWGRAM.  
 
This short album introduces the variety and talent of HOLLOWGRAM, setting them up for the coming year. While each of the members has his own background, Qualia substantiates the band as a whole, proving that this new group have a lot to offer and adding a variety of new music to the scene as a bonus.

 7 track CD

Track list

  1. ideologue
  2. Pleasance Liddell
  3. Silhouette
  4. Butterfly in her dreams
  5. Stand the devil’s like
  6. Don’t cry for the knell
  7. Mistletoe

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

Aki is an adventurous soul and an artistic jack of all trades who has followed her heart and dreams to Japan. Here she has found a way to combine her deeply rooted love for rock and metal with her ever growing love for artistic expression. She has long since confessed to being a helpless music addict with a strong preference for Japanese visual rock and metal, and writing for Rokkyuu has become another way for her to share what she loves with the world.

Amy happened across Dir en grey on a used computer and became enamored by the aesthetics and androgyny of visual kei. Amy studied Japanese at university, including a year studying abroad in Tokyo. Interests include anime and manga, reading, learning languages, playing guitar, and holding on to the futile dream of one day meeting Johnny Depp. Amy hopes to bring the overseas fans closer to the bands they love by translating material related to them.

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