Malevich – Our Hollow Review

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.

Release date: October 25, 2019. Label: Independent.
On 2016’s Only the Flies, Malevich rocked a single guitar and had (now departed) Joseph Turner’s unhinged lead vocals riding atop noisy, buzzing riffage. With Our Hollow, the band doubles the guitar, and three-fourths of the gang get in on the vocal action. They channel a (relatively) somber side of Ed Gein with the Cerberus vocal attack and grinding fury. As witnessed on 2018’s split with Iron Gag, Malevich’s new sound is meatier but just as chaotic as their debut. They lost some (but thankfully not all) of their skronk and screamo vibes, and replaced them with very aptly self-described “grinding blackened angst.” There is a suffocating weight that never truly leaves, applied by off-kilter anxiety-producing riffs, much like Gaza (and Cult Leader, after Gaza kicked out a predator in their midst and rebranded) or a decompressed Dragged Into Sunlight.

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.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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