Hollow Leg - Instinct - (8/10)
Published on February 3, 2014
Hollow Leg is the doomy sludge powerhouse formed by Tim Creter (vocals and drums) and Brent Lynch (vocals and guitars) in 2008. The band now involves Tom Crowther and Scott Angelacos, formerly of the almighty Bloodlet. Bloodlet was a swampy Floridian hardcore act that formed in 1992 and released four full length albums during their active years, which were between 1992 and 1999 and 2001 and 2003. Although only Angelacos is present on this album, and at that as a guest vocalist mind you, there are still many, many similarities to Florida’s swamp monsters. Creter and Lynch founded Hollow Leg, with the intention of performing bass heavy, doomy sludge akin to Eyehategod and Sleep, but with a perceptible stoner groove similar to Clutch and Orange Goblin. That sounds like quite the task, indeed.
Instinct is the band’s first full length album, which was independently released by the band in 2010, is finally seeing a proper release through Argonauta Records (and worldwide distro via Plastichead). Bloodlet may have been a swampy, cypress infused metallic hardcore act, but Hollow Leg delves further in the bogs and mires of the deep south than Bloodlet ever dreamed of. Like, I said, it’s quite a task for a band to live up to the monumental names of Sleep, Eyehategod and Clutch, but Hollow Leg makes one hell of a stab at it, as Instinct is chock full of downtrodden hymns driven forth by heaps of slow-paced, yet grooving licks. Instinct was performed as a two piece, but there’s really no telling that from super thick, gigantic wall of sound these monstrous tracks display. Tracks like “The Source” dominate your being an envelope you in a brick-cased wall of sound, with an underlying pulsing groove, while the vocals scrape through your ears with a thick shouting style reminiscent of when Neurosis used to be the heaviest of the heavy.
Perhaps the true charm to Hollow Leg’s approach is that underneath the immense heaviness there is always some type of Sabbathian groove going on. Listen to “The Retun”, for example, as the foot stompin’, fist pumpin’ tempo will not allow you to sit idly by in the corner; you have to get moving. “Grace” imports some actual melody into the mix with an almost desert rock feel to the offering, balancing the grooving rhythm against the sludgy bravado. Instinct is swampy, sludgy, thick and menacing while retaining a catchiness usually only associated with influenza. By combing the grooving nature of the stoner scene with the downright heaviness of NOLA styled sludge, Hollow Leg rises up from the mire to crush your skull with a deep, menacing form that only a few acts have successfully managed.
If you don’t like sludgy and dirty music, you won’t like this. Instinct won’t win over any new converts to the sludge scene, but if you find yourself longing for a harrowing, swamp watered ride, then tune in. While most of the album is a constant wall of pulverizing sludge, the underlying grooves and Sabbathian riffing keep things interesting. Thanks to Argonauta Records for making this more widely available because these guys deserve to accolades. Simply heavy, simply grooving, simply sludge.