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Pretty solid NWOBHM here. - 87%

Tzitzis, December 21st, 2014
Written based on this version: 1980, 7" vinyl, Guardian Records n' Tapes (Limited Edition)

What we got here is a very underrated, underground NWOBHM band which is marked as a huge influence by many thrash metal bands. It's 1980 and this is the year that many bands in the movement get their 1st albums released. Here we have a pretty solid effort, a nice ol' 4 song EP from Hollow Ground. Talk about that straightforward, in your face kind of NWOBHM by this band! Pretty badass.

The EP starts off with "Flying High" a mid-tempo melancholic tune with pounding drums and high melody. The singing fits perfectly with the melody, the solo is a pure masterpiece and there are some great riffs here too. On to "Warlord" which has a certain rock touch to its sound, but the solo is again loud and metal. "Rock On" is a classic rocker, 70's style, slower than the other songs on the EP. Nothing fancy here, nothing memorable really. The last track "Don't Chase the Dragon", has a kind of galloping riff, a more aggressive sound than the other songs. The bridge and chorus is so powerful and the singing goes along with them. In this song one can really see the potential these guys had. It's the more powerful song here, with great riffing, aggressive (in your face) sound, the whole song is really badass.

Production is really what everyone excepts back in 1980 for an underground band. It ain't crystal clear or raw either. Instruments can be heard clear although there is this fuzzy feeling. As for the lyrics, the lads did a good job, they fit with the music perfectly. Don't get me wrong, there are no poets either but who was back then..? Last but not least, I don't know many NWOBHM bands that wrote a song about heroin or drugs in general, I don't know anyone in fact. So I find it cool that these guys tried to send their own message about drugs back then. I like to think that they were on fight with Persian Risk who wrote "Chase the Dragon" haha (not funny I know).

Well, all in all, this is a pretty solid effort from Hollow Ground. Good riffing, good solos, nice bit of melody, more metal than rock. They are among the 1st NWOBHM bands and one can really see the difference that their sound had from rock music. It's an encouraging effort really and these guys got to release another demo in '81. I really like this EP and this band, very underrated and underground, but major influence on thrash metal bands. It really has everything you want to hear from a NWOBHM record: Great riffs, powerful solos, melodic choruses and a pretty badass touch to its sound. Hell yeah. This is a must have for NWOBHM collectors, and a great EP too, what more could anyone ask for!?

Kickass Early NWOBHM - 70%

DeathRiderDoom, November 22nd, 2009

Hollow Ground – Warlord

*Written for the 9th MA reviews challenge


Hollow Ground are a great Newcastle NWOBHM act that plays what can really be described as the straight up, no nonsense, classic style of NWOBHM. This is their first official release save the compilation they appeared on in the same year, and was released the year after they formed. Evident on this EP is a band with confidence, and a good grasp of melody, and significant allegiance to the 70’s hard rock sound. The result of these factors means the sound comes out sounding somewhat like legendary NWOBHM pioneers Quartz (of which I have reviews of all three albums here on MA). So, the result here is 4 solid classic NWOBHM tracks, let’s examine further…

‘Don’t Chase the Dragon’ is a badass hard-rocker with a plentiful amount of 70’s sounding riffage, and great melodic vocal touches. Meanwhile the title track retains much of the same classic 70’s rock sound. ‘Rock On’ is the slower number on the EP, but pounds along pretty nicely. As you can expect with songs of this subject matter, it’s never gonna be the strongest cut on the album, bit it’s still totally enjoyable. I enjoy the opening track ‘Flying High’ pounds along at mid tempo, with plenty of smashing drums coming through in the mix, along with awesome vocal phrasing, epic lyrics, and some determined hard riffing. Really quite an enjoyable mix of hard rock infused NWOBHM cuts – this one should be likely to get quite a number of spins for die-hard NWOBHMers.

Production is typically lo-fi – but that’s downright expected, and other than that there’s not a bad thing to say about the album. The bass is mixed nice and loud and clear, as it should be with this sorta thing, and you could say it has that classic NWOBHM production sound. I would firmly asset that this one is a NWOBHM offering worthy of your possession, and a decent example of the style in it’s earlier phase. This means the sound has stronger allegiances to 70’s pop rock and hard rock, with a focus on those classic NWOBHM vocal melodies we all know and love. There’s a slightly lower percentage of pure heavy metals in this compound, but believe me it still rocks out at full volume.

-DeathRiderDoom