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Hollow Woods – Cold Winds Cleave the Earth

Hollow Woods
Cold Winds Cleave the Earth
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 March 2022, 1:23 PM

“Cold Winds Cleave the Earth” boldly and brazenly displays HOLLOW WOODS' full potential across its six-song/39-minute duration. Epic but never belabored, physical but finessed, straightforward but never simplistic: no gimmicks, just hateful Black Metal. HOLLOW WOODS are always working within the framework of devotion to the primal world and nature mysticism; both can be felt, subtly but assured, across the entirety of the album.”

The title track is the first song. Slow howls of winds lead off the song, followed by a fairly typical Black Metal sound. Though the vocal style varies a bit, the constant ringing in your ears from the wall of guitars and drums never lets up. As expected, the production is also quite raw. “A Frozen Glance” begins with clean, melancholy guitars that segue into another harsh rhythm section were bass notes can be heard more clearly. But the awful production makes the notes stick together and sound overly fuzzy and unclear. Some clean vocals come in around the half-way mark, yelling across the mountains to anyone who will listen.

“Evergreen Vigil” opens with a quite fire licking embers into the air. The dual vocals here are at least interesting, even though the guitars are again laying on a trite riff. I also appreciate the audible bass notes. This song is absolutely gut-wrenching. “Transcendent Echoes” begins with a more straightforward sound of mucky riffs, punishing drum work, and filthy vocals. It settles into a slower and more hateful groove around the half-way mark. “Glacial Hell” opens with a slow groover of meaty bass notes and some crunchy rhythm guitars. Hummed vocals enter. The sound carries forward until a die down towards the end. “To the Shrouded Shores” closes the album. It’s a slow-moving affair with plenty of hateful tones. What is on these shores?

Depressing, hateful and despondent, “Cold Winds Cleave the Earth” is a reminder of the darker side of life…the negative feelings you try so hard to repress, all of the hatred you see on the news every night…people seemingly taking pleasure from other’s misery. The good news is that you don’t have to waste your time wallowing in these feelings, because the album is just average and that’s that.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Cold Winds Cleave the Earth
2. A Frozen Glance
3. Evergreen Vigil
4. Transcendent Echoes
5. Glacial Hell
6. To the Shrouded Shores
Record Label: Signal Rex Records


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