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Label: AOP Records

Date: September 11th, 2020

I’m willing to bet that you are no connoisseur of Israeli metal scene. That’s OK. Neither am I. There’s just a few people in the world (outside of Israel, of course) who are. Most of what we know of the country’s metal comes from the heavyweights that have already conquered the world. Most of them residing outside of Israel themselves. Hence, the surprise gets even bigger.

Tel Aviv based sextet is offering their debut full length record and they went all in. Even without actual listening, you should be amazed. Check out the guest list. Sakis Tolis, Jeff Loomis, Fernando Ribeiro, Mikko Kotamäki, Greg Mackintosh, Aaron Stainthorpe, Kobi Farhi… And the list goes on… Impressive, to say the least! And from a debutant from Israel!

However, the mere mention of those names does not automatically mean we have a great record on our hands. Or rather it shouldn’t.

“Hollow” is most definitely not the premium class doom metal album. But it is quite a good one, nonetheless. The above mentioned guest stars only further enrich the potential of Tomorrow’s Rain’s creativity.

The band is, as written above, gliding on the wings of doom metal, with subtle death metal additions. I’m referring to the classic version of the genre, brought into sunlight by the British pioneers such as My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost. Furthermore, the Israeli band makes the most of regular heavy metal instruments in crafting the atmosphere which surrounds “Hollow”. Keyboards are (mostly) subtly inducted into the background with few occurrences where it is allowed for them to break free. Still, they make for an important aspect of Tomorrow’s Rain’s music.

Yet, it is in the guitars that the secret lies. In the drums too, to some extent. Yes, you read that correctly. Within certain genre limitations, the drummer did a real good job with diversifying the expected pattern. Back to guitars, we find quite a number of real heavy hitting riffs, acoustic passages and even folk motifs which shine through on occasion. The guitar parts are neatly developed and almost mimic the symphonic ambience. Their influence on the gloomy atmospheric appearance of the record is outstanding. Even if the technical side is mostly suppressed, the guitar work keeps a high level throughout. The brilliance of Jeff Loomis only adds to the effect with his majestic solo in “Into the Mouth of Madness”.

While the guitars gently weep, the one slightly bigger fault with “Hollow” are the vocals. I would like more strength and confidence within. Mr. Yishai Sweartz has a commanding vocal skills, but somehow they seem a bit shy. It is understandable to some extent, given the company in which the singer has found himself. More expressive approach to singing (growling) is expected on the next album though.

Concluding the guest list of this album is the Nick Cave cover. Exceptional addition to the record if you ask me. “Weeping Song” takes a bit from the Mourning Beloveth version, but ends up sounding a lot like Primordial.

With all the epithets I’ve given to “Hollow” above, this is still not an album of highest of classes. The apparent potential which this record exudes merely raises the expectations. While the debut by the Israelis is certainly above the average and hits the right spot emotionally, there is still room for improvement. I have my hopes up they will use this room and create a solemn killer in the years to come.

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