The Mariana Hollow – “Velvet Black Sky” (2012)

Label: Trieste Records

Review by Tony Cannella

“Velvet Black Sky” is the title of the 2nd album from The Mariana Hollow, a 5-piece alternative metal band hailing from the UK. If their debut album, 2010’s “Coma Heart” knocked on the door, their newest release is ready to kick it in.

The overall feeling on “Velvet Black Sky” is dark, but more varied than on their previous album. The intro “Before the Dive” segues nicely into the pounding, atmosphere heavy “Dead Reckoning”. The songwriting on “Velvet Black Sky” is miles ahead of “Coma Heart”, and that is evident from the very beginning. The next track is the excellent, “Your Halo” which the band has done a video for (you can check it out at the usual outlets like YouTube, etc.), and it is easy to see why this song was chosen, it is one of the more accessible songs you will find on VBS. Vocalist Rebecca Spinks may not, technically be the greatest singer you will ever hear, but her vocals are captivating, hugely likeable and somewhat unique. “Stand Your Ground” is a bit down tuned, but has a chorus that just sticks in your head (“Set your sights a little higher, we’re waiting for you at the top”) and an impassioned, dramatic, beautiful, wonderful, emotional – insert adjective here – vocal performance by Rebecca Spinks. This quickly became my favorite song and actually one of the best songs I’ve heard all year (okay, I realize we’re only into February, but this song is just flat out brilliant). “Knife to the Throat” is next and the tempo quickly speeds up, this is the first of three 7-minute long songs “From Failing Hands”. Other highlights include: “Second to None”, “The Line of Fire and Blood” and the monster closer “The Fate of Man”. I know that this album has just been released, but I am already looking forward to album number three from The Mariana Hollow.

“Velvet Black Sky” is a huge leap forward for The Mariana Hollow. I would hate to disparage “Coma Heart” in any way – it was a very good debut, but “Velvet Black Sky” is better in every way, in my opinion.

Rating – 95/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Before the Dive (Intro)
  2. Dead Reckoning
  3. Your Halo
  4. Stand Your Ground
  5. Knife to the Throat
  6. From Failing Hands
  7. Second to None
  8. The Line of Fire and Blood
  9. Breathe
  10. Weight of the World
  11. The Fate of Man

 

Line Up

  • Rebecca Spinks – Vocals
  • Danny Russell – Lead Guitar
  • Richie Walden – Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
  • Scott Chesworth – Bass
  • Adam Lawton Stanley – Drums & Vocals

 

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