Hollow Earth – We Are Not Humanity (2012)

Posted: April 12, 2012 by Anthony in Album, hardcore, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Folks, this is it. If you have been scavenging the larger part of the hardcore scene lately for raw substance and poetic urgency and have  come up empty-handed, you may find what you’re looking for in Michigan’s newly-formed Hollow Earth, and their debut EP We Are Not Humanity.

They may have seemed to materialized out of nowhere, but the idea of Hollow Earth had been around for the duration of many tours around the globe. Vocalist Steve Muczynski had a band like this in mind for few years, and while on the road with Shai Hulud, he expressed his vision to Mike Moynihan (current vocalist of Shai Hulud, and now guitarist for Hollow Earth) and Aaron Goodrich (the band’s drummer).  The end result was the formation of Hollow Earth, acquiring guitarist Dave Giandiletti and Jake Hicks on bass to complete the band. Following its inception, the members moved closer to each other within Michigan to allow  Hollow Earth to become a reality. Their debut EP was recorded by Jay Maas at Getaway Group, and almost immediately after they released a 2-song teaser, Hollow Earth were signed to Panic Records. I cannot think of a label that suits them better.

I had been eagerly awaiting a chance to review this album; since January, I’d only had the standard 2-song sampler to tide me over. However, I did have the chance to preview the entire album live when they played Long Island this past February. Before hearing the recorded version, I had a chance to talk to Muczynski about the album’s incredibly-written lyrics. From what I understand, a great amount of inspiration was drawn from Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael trilogy. Lyrical themes of encroaching human dominance over a dying and depleted Earth will surely resonate with anyone with even just a fraction of awareness, and the lyrics themselves are beautifully-written in a way hardcore has not seen for years. Undeniably intelligent and poetic, yet absent of pretentiousness.

In terms of sound, you’ll find a great amount of 90’s hardcore influence, but it’s fresh enough to not sound like a  rip-off of an era that has long-since passed. If you’re wondering what to expect, refer to the following albums as a comparison:

25% Strongarm – ”Advent of a Miracle”
25% 108
20% Morning Again – “Hand of Hope”
15% Earth Crisis – “Destroy the Machines” & “Gommorah’s Season Ends”
15% Snapcase – “Progression Through Unlearning”

We Are Not Humanity never misses a beat, managing to stay intense and engaging from start to finish. The opening song, “The Great Forgetting”, is a one-minute sing-along intro, serving as a prelude to the misanthropic frustration the rest of the album details. There’s  some guitar-noodling that’s reminiscent of the 90’s Florida hardcore/metalcore scene, and it’s seems that it directly influenced their songwriting. Every track is extremely strong in its delivery, but “There Will Come Soft Rains” is the strongest on the album. The lyrical content is both extremely bleak and empowering, and it demonstrates that this EP is be one of the heaviest releases in recent years without having gratuitous, choreographed breakdowns, forcing the listener to take these lyrics into focus and sing along. The album ends with “The Great Remembering”, wrapping up the whole release with a build-up that surely guarantees an incredible sing-along once people get a hold of this record and learn the lyrics.

Rating: I’ve listened to this album at least 50 times prior to this review, and I’m pleased to say I’m still far from sick of it. The most important aspect to note is that, though 90’s hardcore greatly influences their sound, they have managed to make it unique and push hardcore forward rather than looking back. A band like Hollow Earth is exactly what the hardcore scene needs in the next decade and the new millennium, hopefully getting kids to hang up their Nike Dunks and flat-brim hats, stop tracing their old, regionally-focused records for epiphanies, and give new blood a shot through hard work, creativity, intelligence, and raw urgency. We Are Not Humanity doesn’t drop until April 17th, but it’s available for pre-order through the Panic Records webstore, providing a download code with the pre-order to hold you over. Otherwise, you can hear their 2-song sampler on their bandcamp page or Youtube. They’re also going to be on the road quite a bit in the upcoming months, so if you find they’re in playing in your area, definitely give it a go. We Are Not Humanity gets 5/5 kegs.

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– Anthony John Czerwinski

anthonyjohnczerwinski@gmail.com

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