Hollow Leg – Instinct

Hollow Leg BAND

     Following on from the release of their well-received second album Abysmal last year, US sludge metal sculptors Hollow Leg have their debut beast re-released by Argonauta Records this month. A raw and caustically honed brute of a consuming and oppressive encounter, their previously sold out first album Instinct returns to fill in the blanks of where the acclaimed Florida band began for those missing out the first time. Uncompromising and incessantly rapacious, the album is a sonic brutality with a merciless causticity but simultaneously holds and is tempered by a certainly rough but open seduction through often hidden but bare and potent addictive temptations.

     Instinct was originally released in 2010 when Hollow Leg was just the duo of Tim Creter (vocals, drums) and Brent Lynch (vocals, guitars), the band since expanding to a quartet with the addition of Tom Crowther (bass) and Scott Angelacos (vocals), and followed The Hive Demos of the same year. Demanding and exhaustingly heavy, the album is an unrelenting predator of the senses and psyche, a smothering intensity of sound with a taste for southern groove metal within its ferocious belly. Whereas last year’s excellent Abysmal had a more tempered if still abrasive breath to its impacting and suffocating enterprise, Instinct bares no niceties or respect in its invasive sludge swamp of noise and intent. It is not a release which thrust Hollow Leg onto the frontline of the genre but it is easy to see why it triggered an enthused response to its release, a potent entrance taken on to greater levels by its successor.

    Opener Caretaker attaches itself to the imagination on a sonic spear of sound, spoken vocals providing the initial narrative HOLLOW LEG - Instinctbefore intensive riffs and flattening beats add their scuzz fuelled presence. Employing raw vocal squalls and a leaden but irresistible groove, the song strolls with reserve and intimidating weight through the ears. It is a strong enticement into the album, not strikingly eventful but fully potent in its lure, bait stretched and reinforced by the likes of the bestially bruising Shattered and the more energetic devilish proposition of The Return. Whereas the first is another imposing and senses pinning load of sonic confrontation the second has an eager and fiery gait to its body, though that eventually succumbs to the core heftiness of the band’s sludge intent for a prowling and threatening climax.

     As the tracks follow each other it is fair to say that repetition of structure and chunks of certain riffery make a formulaic surface encounter which needs to be pierced to discover the extra delights tracks like The Source with its dirty melodic grazing upon another contagiously addictive groove offer. That southern lilt to the sound is especially rich and tantalising on this particular track, thoughts of bands like Sourvein, EyeHateGod, and Clutch making loud whispers in the raucous noise persuasion but also of another band, The Fat Dukes Of Fuck where certainly vocally and in a certain mischief the similarity is loud. For all those similarities, Hollow Leg ignite a hunger with their still distinct and raw invention; Bacchus with its inflamed swagger and addiction forging grooves around thrilling nagging riffs and punchy rhythms as well as the corrosively compelling Nothing Left drawing thoughts and emotions in with greater strength for a matching return of appetite for their voracious and intensive toxicity.

    The niggling violence of Spit In The Fire comes next to spark up another greedy response, the scowling vitriolic vocals against the equally tartish wash of exacting noise a rabid suasion, whilst the band’s intensity takes on a further burdensome and exciting depth with Warbeast, the title summing up the track quite accurately. Hooks and grooves, as across the album, come regularly and forcibly but as with most tracks also with a pleasing variation though their true potency often comes only after an excavating beneath the perpetually gruellingly textured skin of the release. The rhythmic taunting of Grace is an example of the variety at play beneath Instinct, but also proof of having to bury yourself into the song to best reap its rugged rewards.

      Closing with the tantalising and unpredictably twisting Wayside, a great epic finale of arduous invention and challenging enterprise, Instinct is a satisfaction filling entrance from a band we know goes on to an even more impressive endeavour. If you missed Hollow Leg on their initial entrance the new releasing of the album gives you a chance to make up for lost time, it a strenuous and stringent view of a band taking its first sonically acerbic steps.

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8/10

RingMaster 05/02/2014

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Grime: Self Titled

With parts of the UK right now being consumed with unprecedented torrents of rain and storms, intrusive merciless floods, and oppressive land and mudslides, the perfect soundtrack to it all comes in the shape of the debut self titled release from Italian sludge metallers Grime. The six track album is a destructive monster of unrelenting ravenous aural filth, a dirty and vicious assault of expansive grievous grooves and crushing vile riffs to devour the senses. It is arguably maybe not the most original but certainly stands as one of the most severe and brutal which can never be a bad thing.

From Trieste the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Marco, guitarist Lorenzo, bassist Paulo, and Chris on drums, came together mid 2010 with a shared passion for the likes of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Grief, Sourvein, Eyehategod, and Buzzov’en and the want to create their own intrusive and to be feared sounds. What emerges as evidenced by this release is a sound which leaves a wasted carcass in its wake, their combination of slow towering riffs, caustically scorching grooves, and murderous rhythms an annihilatory assault brought with the uncontrollable intensity of an avalanche. The band which features ex-members of The Secret and Pianoearthquake, has shared stages with the likes of Cough, The Secret, Tombs, Morkobot, and Leechfeast and increasingly pulling in acclaim which their debut can only accelerate.

Released via Mordgrimm the album offers an intense and inescapable maelstrom of sludge metal escalated to inhuman levels with equally abusive doom oppression and stoner melodic greed, all mutated and distorted into a mugging of decaying hungry intensity. It is harsh, at times almost unbearable but ultimately very rewarding. The opening track Self Contempt immediately overwhelms the ear with an insistent brew of corruptive riffs and drum bitch slaps entwined with a plaintive groove as inwardly insatiable and sadistic as the song title suggests. The vocals are sonically acidic within the spewing scrambling growls to further draw every vindictive and venomous essence the track can find within its black heart.

It is an impressive start easily backed up and bettered by following song The Journey. With a lumbering energy and groove as additive as it is manipulative beside the wonderful the ear flaying vocals of Marco, the track leads the senses through a cess pit of staggering onerous intent. It is nasty, it is insatiable and it is glorious dare one say even beautiful.

The album is in full consumptive near excruciating malevolence now, something Charon and Chasm only force home with further brutality and to dehabilitating effect. The first emerges from the lowest downtuned depths to create the thickest and rawest tsunami of bulk dragging intensity. The riffs turn lethargy into an art form, their punishing ponderous crawl borne of the mightiest predator. The second of the pair is a charnel house of festering senses and twisted emotions, a bedlam of dragging visceral insanity. Midway the track lurches into a resemblance of energetic intent to throw unpredictability into the underlining inventive textures beneath the wall of sonic mud, its effect thrusting the already unhinged assault into overload.

Completed by the unbridled spite and ignited stoner energised attack of the outstanding Born Sick and the excellent swamp fresh blistering of Wife Beater, the album is an equally testing and deeply satisfying release. It does and brings exactly what it says on the tin, well the band name, with a quality one can only hungrily feast upon and shout about. It is borne from a similar thick pit of soiled passion as from the neighbouring likes of Noothgrush, Eyehategod, and Sourvein, but fuelled with its own nasty intent to stand apart. Grime is stuff of nightmares and the perpetrators with their debut release of pure satisfaction.

RingMaster 07/07/2012

Copyright Pete RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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