Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The SIXXIS: "Hollow Shrine"

Rating: RRR
Label: Glassville/Border 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The SixxiS from Atlanta, U.S. of A are a bunch of highly talented and entertaining musicians, blending heavy, alternative, and Prog Rock on their debut album, "Hollow Shrine". Consisting of Vladdy Iskhakov (vocals/violin), guitarist Cameron Allen (winner of the Bend-Note Guitar Competition in Paris), Mark Golden (bass, synth), JBake (drums) and Paul Sorah (guitar), they are all experienced musicians having performed with artists such as Mariah Carey, Ledisi, Divinity Roxx, Ashton Jones, Jennifer Holiday, Angie Stone. etc

The project was started on June 6th, 2006 (06/06/06). When one of the guys noticed this, the band decided to take advantage of this coincidence and be creative with the name. What about the music? Well. "Hollow Shrine" is a complex and intriguing creature. When it all fits together, this album is a entertaining piece of craftsmanship, blending Prog, the heaviness of Tool, and the hint of the Eastern European. Vocalist Iskhakov is in fact from the former Soviet Union (there's however no need to worry about any accent in case you were worried), and growing up with Easter European music had a huge effect on his songwriting.

I wouldn't file this under "Prog" though since it's really more about emotion and power but not to the point to where it would get overbearing. Also, a sound that had an inner intensity and simply just heaviness and at times even sadness about it. "Dreamers" which opens the album mixes some intense riffs with sections that are clearly out there and different from your ordinary metal album. System of a Down did something similar in the past, but it's definitely their own sound and not some riff-off or copy act. "Waste Of Time" takes you on a journey through East and all the twist and turns of Mother Russia. The instrumental "Coke Can Steve" is impressive work and more like Jethro Tull on super-steroids. I'm especially fond of the quirky rock of "Opportune Time" and "Out Alive". Very melodic and at the same time smack on heavy.

Final verdict: Interesting and ambitious work and The SixxiS are definitely on to something greater here.

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