introHollowscene is an Italian band founded in the early 90s as a duo (Andrea Massimo - guitar / Lino Cicala - keyboards). After a long time they reformed in 2016 and released the album “The Burial” under the name of Banaau. At that time the group had grown to a 7 piece ensemble. So the new name is Hollowscene, a word pun that refers both to a hollow scene and to holocene (our current geological era). Additionally it also refers to T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men”. The band’s lyrics are inspired by outstanding American and British authors, especially T.S. Eliot, whose “The Waste Land” inspired Banaau’s first album “The Burial”. In this poem you can find the words Broken Coriolanus. The new concept album Hollowscene is inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedy of Coriolanus. The man who is forced to choose between his pride and love for his family. This choice will bring Coriolanus to a sad death.
Special guest: Takehiro Ueki on Atsumori
This wonderful album can be divided into three sections. First there is the long “Broken Coriolanus” suite which consists out of the tracks “Welcome to Rome”, “A Brave Fellow”, “Traitor”, “Slippery Turns” (atsumori) and “Rage & Sorrow”. As I said before, this suite is based on the tragedy Coriolanus by Willliam Shakespeare. Second there is a piece called “The Worm” that is based on the poem “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe. And third, to my surprise the Gentle Giant cover “The Moon is Down”.
To start with the Gentle Giant cover “The Moon Is Down”. It is off course not easy to cover the original song that you can find on the “Acquiring The Taste” album. That is an unique piece of music from an unique band. You will never win this contest. So I am glad to hear that the band made it’s own interpretation of the song ... instead of covering the piece. This is done with a lot of love and respect towards the band that composed the original song. When you can make a strong own version of a song, it also means that the original composition is a masterpiece. If you listen carefully to the guitar melodies in the last part of the song you will notice a little hint to Genesis. A beautiful version of a classic Prog song. Little detail; the bass and drum players of this collective run their own Gentle Giant tribute band.
The second section of the album consists out of the song “The Worm” which is based on the poem “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe. It opens with beautiful flute melodies that are accompanied by a delicate guitar. And again I had to think of Genesis. That atmosphere changes a bit when the other instruments and the vocalist are joining. The band is singing in the English language. Normally I am not fond of Italian bands that are not using their native language but now it make sense. I mean the lyrics are fragments of poems of American and British authors. Because of the English lyrics the vocals have sometimes a strange intonation. Maybe I am wrong about this ... but after listening a couple of times to the album you are used to this and it sounds more natural. Slowly the tension of the music is building up towards a kind of climax. In this last part the music becomes more hectic and complicated. Well it is just a great track.
But it all starts with the long “Broken Coriolanus” suite based on the “Coriolanus” tragedy of William Shakespeare and which is divided into five parts. The first part is the song “Welcome To Rome”. It opens with uptempo and uplifting synth and guitar melodies. Just before the first vocal lines the flute of Demetra Fogazza is joining the music. Gradually you will notice that the flute plays an important role in the music of Hollowscene. This album opener is a diverse piece of music with delicious keyboard and guitar parts. Great synth solo’s and melodic guitar parts. The next part is called “A Brave Fellow” and now I have to compliment singer Andrea Massimo. His voice has sometimes a slight resemblance to Richard Sinclair. The slow vocal melodies are very nice and beautifully sung. The instrumental parts are intriguing and diverse. The last instrumental part is great and I had to think of the Gabriel era of Genesis. Especially because of the driving rhythm section and the organ. In “Traitor” you can enjoy lovely flute melodies, soaring guitar solo’s and lovely keyboard orchestrations. Just another highlight of a consistent album without weak points. And what about the last two parts of this suite? “Slippery Turns” has a slow vocal opening with piano and flute. After two minutes the atmosphere is changing. Guest Takehiro Ueki recite the Japanese lyrics and the music gets a more threatening atmosphere. The suite comes to an end with a last part that is entitled “Rage And Sorrow”. Musically speaking it all comes together in this last part. All the earlier mentioned fine ingredients are present here, the plucking guitars with the flute that makes you think of Genesis, fine drumming, guitar and synth solos, male and female vocal parts ... it’s all here. You can find some wonderful melodies in this song. The melodies of the ending are pure bliss ... the music goes straight for the heart ... the entrance to Prog Heaven.