Tyler Tate / Vocals
Lee Albrecht / Guitar
Brandon Rummler / Bass
Even when control slips from your grasp, perseverance always remains within reach. Rather than crumble as the walls cave in, Hollow Front stand tall. The Grand Rapids, MI duo—Tyler Tate [vocals] and Lee Albrecht [guitar]—emerge from a season of seemingly endless trials and tribulations with a cathartic, crushing, and cohesive vision on their 2023 third full-length album, The Fear of Letting Go [UNFD]. Instead of backing down, they transform the chaos around them into unpredictable and undeniable anthems. “The album is a journey out of feeling helpless in a situation I don’t have control over,” notes Tyler. “I’ve realized the only thing I have control over is the choice to move on and keep going. That’s all I’m doing. I’m not ready to give up yet.”
There’s no reason to…
Hollow Front have consistently captivated audiences by tempering unfettered heaviness with undeniable melodies. The band emerged as a fan favorite with Loose Threads in 2020. After the album tallied 1 million streams during release-week, “Afflicted” eventually racked up over 7.2 million Spotify streams and counting. The 2022 follow-up, The Price of Dreaming, earned widespread critical acclaim. In a “4-out-of-5” star review, New Noise Magazine hailed it as “a blistering and bruising experience, evoking myriad emotions and conveying a heady and moving blend of euphoria and despair.” Distorted Sound dubbed it “metalcore at its most earnest.” Along the way, they shared stages with everyone from Fit For a King and We Came As Romans to Dayseeker and August Burns Red.
At the same time, the guys weathered one storm after another. A van accident, subsequent financial strife, and lineup shifts left Hollow Front a two-piece by the end of 2022. So, the pair hunkered down and wrote, mixed, and mastered what would become The Fear of Letting Go in its entirety with Lee producing and recording out of his home studio. For the first time, Tyler also assumed both heavy and clean vocal duties.
“The story starts with our accident,” Tyler reveals. “Before, we were riding high—and a singular event set up a downward spiral. It’s not a fun truth, but it’s the truth. It was a big strain mentally and physically. I ended up working through my own issues though. When we finally made the music, we accomplished it without any strain. Lee and I did what we always do, and we came out with a stellar product, in our opinion.”
They initially paved the way for the album with “Letting Go,” which featured original vocalist Dakota Alvarez. “It felt like coming full circle,” says Tyler.
Meanwhile, an anxious riff sets the tone for the single “We’re All Left Suffering.” The vocals alternate between arresting melodies and guttural growls under the weight of a chugging groove offset by airy electronics.
“The world is drowning in suffering at the moment,” he observes. “Nobody can afford anything. Even a one-bedroom apartment is insanely overpriced. Everything’s expensive, and everyone’s an asshole. The internet brought out a darkness in people, and we’re all suffering. Everybody is just trying to make it to tomorrow instead of living life to the fullest. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I’ve given up on humanity.”
Elsewhere, “Breaking Teeth” bludgeons with a battering ram of distortion as a thick bass line thumps. Tyler screams, “We can’t take it back,” and a pit-splitting breakdown ensures.
“Nobody wants to be born into a world that’s impossible to survive,” he sighs. “There are a few things going on. I’m definitely pissed about how hard life is nowadays. The song also discusses the accident. I’ve been in a few car accidents, but I had never been in an accident like this. It completely derailed my band and my life.”
Then, there’s “Will I Run?” Clean guitar underlines an emotionally charged vocal as a soaring chorus takes flight above a head-nodding rhythm.
“Once you become a father, you can’t run away anymore,” he says. “I’ve got kids. I have to keep my feet firmly on the ground. Lee’s kid was just born, and he was wondering, ‘Am I going to be a good dad?’ You’re afraid, but you’re accepting the fear. The last line is, ‘I won’t run’. You face your problems head-on.”
Tyler addresses his relationship with his mother on the heart-wrenching “Over The Cradle.” The atmospheric finale “Letting Go” hinges on a lullaby-style keyboard melody as the last vocal crescendo echoes to the stratosphere.
“As much as it’s an end, it’s also a new beginning,” he goes on.
Ultimately, Hollow Front are stronger than ever now.
“We’re putting all of our energy into this album,” he leaves off. “We’re so proud of how it came out. We appreciate our fans more than anything. Without them, we wouldn’t have a band. They’re the reason we’ll keep doing it.”