Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hollow Leg - Abysmal (album review)

Cover artwork by Shawn Garrett.
Everything about Hollow Leg is aggressive, from the lyrics to the Pike-ian vocals, from the floor tom pounding drums to the heavy handed way in which they're played.  It's a trait that I find is shared in common with many Florida based bands, a regional in-your-face flavor.  But aggression isn't just chest beating forcefulness, it can also take the form of insistence and when it comes to catchiness and hooks, Hollow Leg drives hard to the hoop and takes it to the house.

And right off the bat, Hollow Leg puts its best foot forward.  Yes, there are puns here.  Album opener, "Abysmal" is the absolute inversion of its name, much like the inverted cross in the wolf's face which graces the album's cover.  No, I'm not talking antonyms.  I'm talking terrific.  I'm talking about a tune torn from the terrifying territory of doom.  The title track of this here album moves you.  It's heavy, groovy, addictive and if and when we're talking about songs of the year, absolutely essential to the conversation.  Driving rhythms duke it out with descending riffs and those vocals.  This shows you the band means business.   And then, as if to prove "Abysmal" is no fluke, the ones with the hollow legs unleash "Ride to Ruin" on your battered ass.  There's an 'it' factor here, my friends.

But first, the band some other sides to show you.  "8 Dead (In a Mobile Home)" spills directly from the mouth of "Abysmal" and is in many ways more low key and yet an entirely appropriate follow up.  Slower and more menacing, this songs gives a good glimpse as to what to expect from this band for the most part on side A, which is lumbering riffs met with a cascading punctuation of crash.  It also happens to be one of the stand out tracks on this debut effort.

And, as if the lyrics and sounds of the first three tracks aren't enough to emphasize the band's keen sense of horror, instrumental track "Pompeii" slams down an almost Nightmare on Elm Street-ish keyboard-like guitar effect with altogether shattering and destructive force.  It needs to be heard to be believed.  This track leads right in "Ride to Ruin".  I don't know, the more I hear it, the more it rivals the title track for catchiness and groove.  It's kind of a toss up here for which one's best, they are both amazing songs.  "Ride to Ruin" just may have you pumping your fist, punching the air in wide swinging arcs.

"The Dog" isn't far behind these two in effectiveness either.  By now the pattern is set, Hollow Leg makes much of hanging moments and empty space.  That's what establishes your swamp funk groove.  They keep it coming too, even towards the end of the disc, relentless in their pursuit of neck breaking grooves.  "Cry Havoc" is perhaps the most musically far-reaching track on the album and brings a return to that mysterious guitar effect while taking the groove to pulsating places.

'Abysmal' is available as a digital download and on LP, you can find both on bandcamp by following the links on the player below.  If you like aggressive and groovy doom, you won't be disappointed

Highlights include: "Ride To Ruin" and "Abysmal"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 35:30


From: Jacksonville, Florida

Genre: Doom, Sludge

Reminds me of: Beastwars, Eyehategod, Shroud Eater

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Hollow Leg on facebook

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