Hollow Leg, Abysmal: Crying Havoc

Posted in Reviews on September 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Though in the minds of many listeners there’s no doubt that Southern sludge is an aesthetic with set associations. Bands playing or even dabbling in the style are hard-pressed to emerge without being saddled with the inevitable Eyehategod comparison, and to their credit, Floridian four-piece Hollow Leg work in a more nuanced approach than most. Their second full-length, Abysmal, finds them working within and beyond the usual stylistic constraints, here and there touching on Sourvein-style nod while offsetting that with Earthride‘s rolling stoner-doom groove. The riffs of guitarist/backing vocalist Brent Lynch are a driving force, as one might imagine, but Abysmal (released on Last Anthem Records) showcases a songwriting acumen that goes beyond focusing on any single member of the band and is most effective when Lynch, bassist Tom Crowther, drummer Tim Creter and vocalist Scott Angelacos are all pushing in the same direction. Moreover, with the strength of several landmark choruses behind it — namely those of “Blissful Nothing,” “Ride to Ruin,” “Lord Annihilation” and closer “Cry Havoc” — Abysmal also tests out the boundaries of melody. While Angelacos‘ vocals are largely unipolar in their throaty, shouting approach, Lynch provides suitable accompaniment and also works in some flourish on guitar, making the material across the album’s eight tracks/35 minutes that much more complex. What on first listen sounds like it might be “another sludge record” gradually emerges as a display of character that, while utilizing some familiar elements, ultimately shows Hollow Leg as having more to them than Take as Needed for Pain rehash and/or derivative antiestablishmentism.

At their core, Hollow Leg are riotously heavy. Recorded by Jeff McAlear at High Five Audio in Deland, FL, and mastered by Collin Jordan, the album’s mix leans toward the metallic, but stays true to a sludgy nature by not sacrificing tonal weight in the name of speed or showy play. That Hollow Leg would turn out to be crafters of memorable songs should be less of a surprise to those who caught the not so subtle hints on their 2010 full-length debut, Instinct — also recorded by McAlear  — but it’s a distinguishing factor on their second album and the growth they show proves demonstrative of their progress overall. Abysmal creeps to a start with the fade in of its title-track, a song that shows little of the breadth that comes across over time, but establishes several key factors in Hollow Leg‘s approach all the same, from the fluid rhythms proffered by Crowther and Creter, to the weighted chug of Lynch‘s guitar and vicious rasp from Angelacos at the forefront. Angelacos seems at first to be very much in the T-Roy Medlin spirit of screamers, and “Abysmal” suits that form, though deviations emerge both in the chorus layering and in his tradeoffs with Lynch, and as the slower, more subdued “8 Dead (in a Mobile Home)” takes hold, Hollow Leg immediately build on the straightforward thrust of the album’s beginning to toy with heavy/soft dynamics, the guitars adding melody at the end to hint at some more of what’s to come. Between the two songs, a good portion of Abysmal‘s course is set, but I’d argue that the most resonant hooks are still to come, and “Blissful Nothing” settles into an easy groove with a dually-layered vocal in the chorus, shout-along ready, essentially proving the argument.

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audiObelisk Transmission 030

Posted in Podcasts on September 21st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

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Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

With no slowdown in the music coming out as we move into the fall, it’s time for another audiObelisk podcast. Like last month, the idea here was to keep it super-simple, not go too long or get lost too much in including stuff just for the hell of it. Whether it’s a big band or someone you’ve never heard of in this tracklist, it’s all quality, and most of it is new. A couple of these albums haven’t even come out yet.

Things get pretty dark in the second of the two hours, but I figured what the hell? It starts off rockin’ with Sasquatch and The Freeks and so on, so it seemed there was room to doom out for a while, and once I threw in The Body, there was nothing to do but plummet even further. As it winds down, there’s some transition back to more rocking fare though with Earthless, so it’s not like it gets totally lost and drowns in the mire of dark tones and sonic abrasion. I know you were worried. I was too.

Like last time, it clocks in at just under two hours long. I hope you download and enjoy the tracks. Here’s the full rundown of what’s included:

First Hour:

Sasquatch, “The Message” from IV (2013)
Monster Magnet, “Mindless Ones” from Last Patrol (2013)
The Freeks, “The Secret Pathway” from Full On (2013)
Red Fang, “Blood Like Cream” from Whales and Leeches (2013)
Pyramido, “Tiden är Kommen” from Saga (2013)
Hollow Leg, “Ride to Ruin” from Abysmal (2013)
YOB, “Ether” from Catharsis (2013 Reissue)
Seremonia, “Suuri Valkeus” from Ihminen (2013)
Aqua Nebula Oscillator, “Human Toad” from Spiritus Mundi (2013)
Jesu, “Everyday” from Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came (2013)
Ayahuasca Dark Trip, “To the Holy Mountain” from Mind Journey (2013 Reissue)

Second Hour:

All Them Witches, “Born under a Bad Sign” (2013)
The Body, “Prayers Unanswered” from Christs, Redeemers (2013)
Primitive Man, “Antietam” from Scorn (2013)
Windhand, “Cassock” from Soma (2013)
Atlantis, “Omen” from Omens (2013)
Earthless, “Violence of the Red Sea” from From the Ages (2013)

Total running time: 1:59:33

Hope you dig it. Thanks for listening.

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Visual Evidence: Hollow Leg and Orbweaver Announce “Abysmal Transmissions” Tour

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 11th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Floridian outfits Hollow Leg and Orbweaver have teamed up for a long weekender from Aug. 2-5. Playing four nights in their native state, both bands will be supporting new releases — in the case of Hollow Leg, it’s their new full-length collection Abysmal, which is out on Last Anthem Records on July 30. For Orbweaver, the Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon EP will mark their studio debut with a release on Primitive Violence.

Taking from the titles of both, the Abysmal Transmissions tour runs from Orbweaver‘s home in Miami to Hollow Leg‘s in Jacksonville. The poster below has specifics:

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver – Abysmal Transmissions Tour 2013

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver tour dates:
Aug. 2 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
Aug. 3 Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL
Aug. 4 Bowman Motorcycles, St. Petersburg, FL
Aug. 5 Burro Bar, Jacksonville, FL

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Orbweaver on Thee Facebooks

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