Welcome to another edition of Shrapnel! Here’s hoping you agree with me that the selections we’ve included this time around are worth a listen!

First of all I’m keen to draw your attention to Swedish power/prog act Hollow.

The band, which is led by Andreas Stoltz (ex-Binary Creed) has a new album entitled Tower out now – it was released on November 26th via Rockshots Records. It’s the band’s fourth full-length and follows 2019’s Between Eternities of Darkness, which marked the band’s return after a massive twenty year hiatus since the release of their 1999 album Architects of The Mind, which emerged via Nuclear Blast Records.

Featuring ten tracks, Tower is an album best listened to as a whole piece, which tells a tale of transformation with its blend of progressive metal/rock, power, melodic death, and thrash elements. Andrea Stoltz is accompanied by drummer Stalder Zantos who also appeared on Between Eternities of Darkness.

“Working with Stalder Zantos has been a more continuous element in writing the material for Tower than on Between Eternities of Darkness and this has definitely influenced the outcome as has contributed more on this album than on the previous one,” adds Stoltz.

On Hollow’s Architect of the Mind, artificial intelligence and creation were the topics of discussion; for Between Eternities of Darkness parenthood and tragedy were the subject matter, and now for Tower the concept of inner and outer freedom is explored. It’s also about belonging and transcendence and Stoltz hopes these are things that most people can relate to.

“The relating bit is important since art – regardless of form – is a meeting of emotions and ideas. It needs to find something to resonate within the person who takes part in it. When asked, I find it hard to describe the music, but it’s metal. It has distorted guitars, double bass drums and harks back to bands like Judas Priest and Queensrÿche. But there is also quite a bit of contemporary metal on Tower. Since this is a concept album with the ambition of conveying a story, listening to it as a whole is encouraged. I hope you can find something that resonates with you on it. Hopefully, Hollow’s fans will be able to trace today’s music back to Modern Cathedral and Architect of the Mind. I’ve made an effort to keep it as straightforward and simple as possible. I think most fans will have no trouble recognising it as Hollow.”

Next we have a band you should all be familiar with, Immolation! This past week the band has released a new video clip for the track Rise The Heretics, which you can watch below!

Once again guitarist Robert Vigna created and directed the music video while Angelo Damanti handled the camera work as well as serving as the technical advisor and equipment specialist. The band’s performance was filmed at Dark City Studios in Yonkers, New York.

The band comment:”We want to thank all our fans for their tremendous support and patience during the last few years. We have one last offering from the Atonement album that we would like to share with everyone before we begin the next chapter for Immolation. We have more news on the way and look forward to seeing everyone again real soon!”

Recently, the band announced they will be performing a special “One Night Only” event on March 19th consisting of the New York Metal Scene, at one of New York City’s most historic music halls, Irving Plaza. Joining the band for the night are Demolition Hammer, Mortician, Black Anvil, and Funeral Leech.

Staying in the US, let’s say hello to Jizzy Pearl, who is back with a new Love/Hate album!

Raised during the eighties debauchery of the Sunset Strip and still going strong in 2021: Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate presents their third single for Golden Robot Records entitled Gonna Take You Higher, which is out now on all digital platforms. Gonna Take You Higher comes off the upcoming album Hell, CA which will be released on 11th February 2022, on both CD and digitally and is available for pre-order now!

The latest single from Jizzy is about Jack Parsons, one of the pioneers of rocketry aviation who also happened to be a devotee of Aleister Crowley. It’s “gonna take you higher than you’ve ever been!”

The spirit of Sunset Strip is still well and truly alive and rockin’ and so is Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, who have been a fixture on the Hollywood Sunset Strip since they released their debut album on Columbia RecordsBlackout In The Red Room – in 1990. It received much critical acclaim and was awarded “Best Record of the Year” from both Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines. The original Love/Hate released five records in the 1990’s and toured with bands such as Skid Row, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC.

Lastly today we visit New Mexico and Blue Heron! These guys are a quartet from New Mexico who create what they call their ‘own mix of authentic desert rock blended with elements of doom, stoner metal, and heavy psych”.

The band is on the verge of self-releasing a debut EP, a two-song 7-inch for the songs Black Blood of the Earth and A Sunken Place. The band promise a full album set for the in the Spring of 2022 via a ‘pretty cool label arrangement’, but wanted to get something out this year and they can honestly say they’re proud of what they’ve created. Anyways – have a look and listen to the video and see what you think!