Most good bands conjure anthropomorphized versions of themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but stick with the premise for a moment. Power metal is a soaring metallic eagle like the cover of Screaming for Vengeance, with clean lines and heroic speed. Folk metal is a goofy hobbit in the forest, hoisting their hurdy-gurdy aloft in the firelight. Black metal is obviously a frost demon stalking icy hillsides, hunting for unburnt churches.
But on the fringes of extreme metal we have bands like Atlanta’s Malevich that eschew genres as a matter of principle and necessity. Our Hollow, like Only the Flies before it, had to be made. (See them live if you’re doubtful.) These albums are twisted creations that spawn unbidden from their creators. As such, Malevich conjure a disgusting swamp creature, lurching onto land. The beast is dripping and encrusted in filth, with tree-trunk legs and no discernible head. Instead, a three-headed Kuato snarls from the torso, spitting malice borne from years of torture. Open your mind indeed, because Our Hollow gets ugly and furious immediately.
Drummer Sasha Schilbrack-Cole once again provides excellent artwork of a forested hollow filled with human and animal remains. These carcasses no doubt collected by the hulking bog monster for his “Earthen Womb” of the opening track.
“Throne of Decadence” and “Held by the Throat” follow with a jab-uppercut of disrespectful grind that draw you punchdrunk into “Fractured, Exultant,” where Malevich’s vocals and guitars entwine to shriek straight through the hole where you soul should be. This is also a good time to point out that Daniel DiSimone’s massively heavy bass anchors Our Hollow like a primal concrete sledge, propelling the madness ever forward.
“Distended Empire” is the 8 minute and 43 second penultimate pinnacle of Our Hollow that strides through all facets of Malevich’s screamo, savage sludge, and grindcore sound. The relative calm coda of a clean guitar line picking solemnly through distant screams before “You and I (Illuminated in Waves of Purpose)” only heightens the thunderous intro of the finale; its sole purpose is to crush your skull in wave after wave of churning violence. At 1:05, a guitar squeals weaponized feedback through an excellent riff, before prancing over tap dancing drums, highlighting how Malevich adeptly mix lighter passages with brute force and still maintain their uneasy atmosphere throughout.
Let the swamp monster take you underneath the slime into Our Hollow, where Malevich have crafted a hideous masterpiece.