Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Experimental Extremists...

Humanfly - II (2008)

Some people may question why we review the things that we review. Sometimes the answer is simple – in this case I drove fellow blog conspirators Jay and Jon back from a Dopefight gig a few of weeks back, slipped this disc in the CD player and after the first track Jon threatened to steal it. It occurred that if veterans of the trade like these guys hadn’t heard Humanfly, then maybe some of you guys hadn’t either.

Humanfly are just plain awesome. Straddling the fine line between doom, sludge, stoner and post metal magnificently, they carve huge riffs out of the ether, all bass-y sludge-y tones and tight percussion. If you need reference points, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, a more prog Neurosis, these will all do the trick. They’ve put out three records to date, this, perhaps unsurprisingly, is their second. They’re all great, I’d advise you to check them all out – in fact their first album ‘A God Amongst Insects’ is available for free download from their bandcamp page (there will be a link somewhere below) – but ‘II’ is my favourite purely from a consistency perspective.

The first track, ‘Another week in the theme park of death’ is possibly the best opener to a record I’ve heard in ages. A quiet, reverb soaked, almost picked expression builds gently, supported with a full sounding bass line, and meanders gently for nearly four minutes, lulling the listener into a false sense of security, before a frankly enormous sludge riff comes out of nowhere. The first time the shock is almost palpable. It’s a great riff too, driven by a frankly huge bass line. Vocals are layered on sparingly, with a refreshingly non-screamy approach and opting for more of an emotive mixture of shout and singing, sounding for all the world like a man striving to sing loud enough to be heard over the cacophony, such that his voice cracks. Surprisingly, this works remarkably effectively. Later in the song the riffs drop to half time; at this point I normally get goose pimples.

And this is just the first song. There are five more with lots of other touches to bring out, but I think I’ve said enough. Go and listen to this record, it’s simply awesome.

~ Andy

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, Russian Circles

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