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Hollow - The Infinite Cycle

Hollow
The Infinite Cycle
by Ricardo Casagrande at 30 March 2022, 11:45 AM

HOLLOW was started roughly five years ago as a solo project by Chuc Bawol. Chuc comes from the northern area of France and has played guitar in the band TRASH HEAVEN and drums in LITIGE and RUINS OF MARS. In 2017 he started working on his first solo album and with that he learned and played all the instruments on the album, along with the recording process and mixing of all the tracks. Now with the support of M&O Music, he has released The Infinite Cycle in 2021, after five years of hard work and patience for the masses to hear.

The album starts off with the track “Shadows on the Wall” and with not much information to go on with the style of metal involved, I was pleasantly surprised. Vocals wise, Chuc pulls off a more raspy growl, and seems to not be afraid of clean vocals as well. Guitars are melodic with a degree of Thrash at times and carry a lot of rhythm with them to compliment the double kick of the drums. The drums seem to follow a Progressive/Symphonic style that does not overpower the music as a whole. The next track up is “Crawling My Way Out” as the track has a subdued Power metal flow with the music with the vocals interchanging between clean and darkened growls. The song picks up the pace midway through with a catchy solo and riffs to follow it up. The bass, although low and more hidden in the background, has an important presence as it holds the rhythm in place well with the drums. “Never Too Late” starts off with a very melodic tone as it calms to allow clean vocals and some well written lyrics to come through. Chuc portrays the destruction of the earth that only mankind can do so well, with the message of hope that it is not too late. It is more of a casual track music wise but has some nice guitar works and holds a strong message.

“The Infinite Cycle” follows up the more relaxed track by coming out with some strong pounding drums and galloping guitar riffs as the track hits a little harder than the last few tracks.

This is a heavily melodic track that has a strong finish, but will not be shattering any ear drums. The next track and probably the heavier on the album is “Monster Beneath the Skin”. Death metal riffs and the drums are thundering at the start that eventually lowers in intensity, but is followed by some nice guitar playing and creative song writing to finish off the song. “Hollow” kicks off with some classic French Power/Symphonic metal riffs and fast paced drumming that calms itself down to inherit clean vocals. This seems like a solid power metal song without the soaring vocals. “The Void” explodes into the headphones with a tasty Technical Death metal riff that catches you off guard. It is short lived as it makes its way into melodic riffs and a mix of clean and raspy howling. The guitars on the track are well done with some off timing playing and holds a lot of melody as the drums hold the song in place. The final thirty seconds of guitar and bass at the end is a nice way to go out on this track. The album concludes with “What It Feels Like To Be Alive” and it inherits all the components of what you have heard prior to, into the next eight minutes. Very melodic guitars, and there is some keyboard work that is well placed in the background. The bass has a strong presence on this track and flows together well with the drums. A well written song that has a lot of components within, as the ending contradicts the ending in the previous track as instead of a soft and melodic ending, comes back with some powerfully drumming in the last thirty seconds to solidify its conclusion.

The album is a well written release that I can truly respect as I can’t really concentrate for fifty minutes on something, let alone five years. I get the sense that Chuc feels more comfortable with drums and guitar, as those are the more powerful pieces to the tracks and stand out due to that. The production on the release seems good, nothing lacking at times or overstated, so the mixing seems to have fitted together well. There are no soaring vocals that at times seems that it would fit the piece well, but sound good as a mix of clean and growling. All together a release that Chuc should be very proud of.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shadows on the Wall
2. Crawling My Way Out
3. Never Too Late
4. Infinite Cycle
5. Witness
6. Monster Beneath the Skin
7. Big Words for a Little Man
8. Hollow
9. The Void
10. What It Feels Like To Be Alive
Lineup:
Chuc Bawol - All Instruments, Mixing
Record Label: M&O Music
     


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