Opening Hartsick is The Sea Will Sleep… which outlines how the record is going to go when it fully kicks off. There is an electronically-processed first section that erupts into instrumentation that moves into a breakdown, definitely one of the earliest half-time sequences on any metalcore album ever. This then progresses to Lone Shark which holds close the heaviness, but uses the clean vocals that hold elements of the likes of The Amity Affliction. By challenging even those at the top on this track, Our Hollow Our Home establish their dominance to then build a work which has the chance of cementing a big slot for them within the genre. The following works do anything but disappoint.
With piano and orchestral lines opening Throne To The Wolves, the sound absolutely fills the space with a thick and layered styling. The change from melody to the explosive djent feel to a combination is seamless, with equally high levels of skill being demonstrated across the board. The title track Hartsick has a groove feel in the chunky guitar tones, and even in breakdowns remains bouncy back to the melodic lines. The effects placed on the guitars give them a really sweet, polished tone that retains the distortion in the high frequencies but reins them in to keep from pick sqeaking peaks.
Karmadillo has to be one of the best songs on Hartsick because it just embodies the album. Cleans with stacked vocals give a complete soundsphere, but begins with absolutely belting screams that break into a chaotic breakdown with technical leads on top that signify a band on top of their game. The whole track demonstrates the two-sided attack of hooking with the melody and absolutely demolishing with the earth-shatteringly heavy sections.
Vocally, Hartsick is absolutely sound throughout. The clean vocals demand for space in the mix and are given it, which floods the sound with melody and often layers. The breaking in of unclean vocals then closes down the layers and allows more complex guitar riffs to come in as it shuts the space left by cleans. The switching between the two provides a masterful contrast which makes the album as a whole work incredibly well.
Overall, an incredibly powerful album that keeps a distinct feeling of brutality even in the cleaner sections. The whole album is almost reminiscent of The Amity Affliction as they hit their stride on their first full-length with the more polished and professional sound of their later albums. In that way, it takes the best aspects of one of the best-loved melodic metalcore bands and throws down a gauntlet. If that doesn’t prove to you how powerful Our Hollow Our Home are, nothing will.