Tomorrow’s Rain – Hollow Review

With all the tech-death, funeral doom, and post-whateverthefuck being hurled our way over the last couple of years, it’s paradoxically refreshing when certain sounds of yesteryear make an unexpected, yet somewhat welcome, return. In today’s case, it’s in the form of mid-90s-flavored gothic metal that would have Century Media doing a violent double-take as to what decade it is. Israel’s Tomorrow’s Rain originally started out in 2002 under the Moonskin moniker (see?), but due to founding bassist Moar Applebaum relocating to California to become a producer/engineer, co-founding vocalist Yishai Sweartz laid the band dormant. However, the urge to write classic gothic metal was too strong for Sweartz, and with the help of some friends both local and worldwide, he decided to give it another go under the Tomorrow’s Rain name, and here we have the fruits of their labor: the debut album, Hollow.

One thing I noticed right off the bat, going from the one-sheet supplied by their label, was the sheer amount of guest appearances on the album. The list reads as a veritable who’s who of gothic doom, death, and rock royalty, featuring members of My Dying BrideParadise LostOrphaned LandSwallow the SunSisters of MercyRotting Christ, and Draconian (among others). Only one song (out of eight) doesn’t feature a guest vocalist or guitarist. This could mean one of two things; either the material resonates so strongly that the guests in question are adding their considerable talents to season the songs, or that the songs in question could use all the help they can get by those who are featured.

Sadly, it’s the latter here. While musically, there’s nothing completely wrong, save for the bass-drum patterns that close out “Fear” where I can’t figure out if drummer Nir Nakav is doing oddly-decided triplets or if it’s just sloppy pedaling, little stands out. Most of the time, the guitars just chug, save for the occasional melody here and there, the exception being “Into the Mouth of Madness,” where Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy/ex-Nevermore) rips some mean solos on both the intro and outro. Vocally, Sweartz has an impressively deep spoken voice that reminds me of Peter Steele. Otherwise, his growls sound off-key from the rest of the band, and in some cases his timing is off as well, especially on “Misery Rain,” where he’s outshined by Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) and Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun).1


No, the only interesting portions on Hollow belong to the guests, who do the entirety of the heavy lifting. Opener “Trees” goes on and on and on for seven minutes with nothing elevating the song. The only passion on “Fear” is coming from Aaron Stainthorpe’s (My Dying Bride) wails at the end of the song. And not all the guest appearances shine, either. While Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) contributes a tasty solo in “In the Corner of a Dead End Street,” Rotting Christ‘s Sakis Tolis sounds like his voice was about to give out at any minute on the same track. I’m not sure if it’s a production/mix thing, or if Tolis was having a bad day, but it’s off-putting. Truthfully, the only song that I fully enjoyed was closer “The Weeping Song” featuring Sisters of Mercy live vocalist Lisa Cuthbert, Draconian‘s Anders Jacobsson, and Orphaned Land‘s Kobi Farhi, and that’s only because the passion displayed by Cuthbert, Jacobsson, and Farhi basically elevate the song, when it should be Tomorrow’s Rain doing so.

And that’s my biggest beef with Hollow. Guest appearances, in theory, add a unique flavoring or seasoning to a song. That all depends on the band in question offering a compelling foundation for theses appearances to soar. They should never, ever be the main attraction, as it seriously detracts from what the band wrote. Yet, these appearances mostly save Hollow from being frustratingly mundane, and even then it’s marginally so. Never has an album title rung so true.

 


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AOP Records
Websites: tomorrowsrain.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/TomorrowsRain
Releases Worldwide: September 11th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Tough room. – Steel
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