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ARCHITECT OF THE MIND
Written by Bjørnar Bevolden

"Architect of the mind" is the third album by Swedish power proggers Hollow, following the release of last years "Modern cathedral" and their self- titled debut mini cd, which was only released in limited quantity. It was the self- titled mini cd that got them a deal at Nuclear Blast, after great reviews in the Swedish and Japanese press. This four- piece showed huge talent and promise of great things to come with their two previous releases, but it`s with their new release "Architect of the mind" that the band finally bloom.

The cd has 11 songs with running time of 48 minutes. I have to say that I was absolutely blown away after hearing this cd a few times. The cd absolutely oozes of energy, self-confidence and greatness. Opening track "Transcending Sorrow" puts things in place from the very first second with a great melody line, chorus and excellent powerful guitars.

As you might have understood by now, the music emphasis on the powerful twin guitar attack of Andreas Stoltz and Marcus Bigren, and not least the superb vocals of Andreas Stoltz (guit/voc). This is a singer who can sing in both mid and high- register with effortless ease, it`s a delight for the ears. While the music is not overly progressive, there should be enough technical finesses and progressive elements to entertain the progressive metal fans. While we constantly are offered killer riffs from song to song, the band also know how to slow it down with acoustical parts and passages. What strikes me this time around is the improvement in the songwriting department. The melody lines are very melodic and accessible, without being commercial or dull. There is no way to resist the extremely catchy melodies presented on this album. All songs are worked though very well, and each song is a winner. And as far as the production goes, I find it good and better than on "Modern Cathedral", although the guitars are a bit too loud and the drum- sound a bit flat.

While the music presented is not very original, I have to say that after hearing all three Hollow albums, I think they have developed and found their own style and direction. And when the songs and the overall impression are of this high standard, I don`t care about originality. I find this album to be one of the best power prog albums in a long time and this is without doubt a must for all fans of the band and the genre. A huge step in the right direction from "Modern Cathedral". I rate this album to 4 out of 5 points. Buy or die!

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