Echo Hollow - Superficial Intelligence

Geneva Records


Well, it's finally here.  After more delays that almost any album in the history of music, Echo Hollow has finally released their new album Superficial Intelligence.  There is one messageboard where I frequent where at least one person every couple months for the last 2 or 3 years has been asking when this album would finally be released.  Well, it's here and you annoying posters can quit with the "When is Superficial Intelligence Coming Out" threads!
Now, as far as comparing this release with Diet of Worms, I'm not going to try to do much of that here.  I don't own the release and I only heard two of the songs on it about 5 or 6 years ago so I don't even remember too much about them.  The one thing I do remember is that Diet of Worms seemed to be heavier than this material.  Superficial Intelligence for the most part is a hard rock/metal mixture with a ton of variety.  The opening song, "A.D.H.D." is a very upbeat and catchy song...kind of a not-as-heavy, old Tourniquet style...that is a good start to the album.  The song deals with the band's opinion that Attention Deficit Disorder has more to do with faulty parenting and lack of structure instead of just being a sickness.  I tend to agree with them on this one.  As far as the rest of the music on the disc, they are all over the map really while still retaining a sound that tells you it's the same band.  I hear influences ranging from a Galactic Cowboys/King's X feel on one song, to Zepplin, to No Innocent Victim, and to of course old Tourniquet.  Guy Ritter's vocals conjure up memories of the Tourniquet of old for sure.  However, he rarely gets quite as wild as he did on Stop the Bleeding or Psychosurgery.  The best example of the Tourniquet sound would be on the song "Middle of the Mind".  The guitars on that song have a very familar sound thanks to Gary Lenaire and Ritter's vocals really shine.  "1973" and "A.D.H.D" also bring back a few Tourniquet memories.  Other than that, a tamer style of vocals are the only similarities you'll find here.  The band is not afraid to kick it into a fairly high gear, but many mellow moments of acoustic and soft electric guitar and "pretty" vocals will cause some old Tourniquet fans looking for a quick thrill to head for the door.
Overall this is not a bad album, but it's not one that I think I'm going to listen to all that often.  It starts to bog down after song number 5 and doesn't ever really get back to anything all that exciting save for the last song.  The ballad "Yesterday's Ghost" has a very good and passionate ending, but getting there is the hard part.  The album closer "1973" brings in a little bit of a punk beat to mix with the metal.  This song is probably the best of the final five songs due to them going back to a heavier vibe and more aggressive vocals by Ritter after a mellow instrumental and the above mentioned ballad. 
Lyrically, the band is hit and miss.  They have some very good one liners and some decently solid topics, but other songs have somewhat lame lyrics ("Late Movie" for example).  Packaging is nice, but nothing that stands out.  I liked the cover to Diet of Worms much better than this cover.  And as for the production, it is well done.
I'll be interested to see if all the anticipation of fans is fulfilled with the final product.  (Review by Matt)