Humanity’s Last Breath – Abyssal
Opening with ‘Bursting Bowel Of Tellus’ the chugging, sludgy atmosphere can with the guttural vocals can be compared to that of Black Tongue. It churns, it drags, and sucks listeners right in with its gritty tone. The echoing tone of the drums along with the guitar create a thunderous effect that sounds pretty grand, and the steady pace between machine gun drumming with breaks in between stay true to the typical deathcore formula. Then, the ‘mechanized’ vocals come in (some might recognize them used in Dimmu Borgir’s mid era work like “Deathcult Armageddon”) and instantly we have something a little different. True that ‘xenocore’ vocal work isn’t something new for metal, but it is rarely used by bands so this is a refreshing touch. Other tracks like ‘Fradga’ use less of these types of things and sound like more straightforward deathcore, but unlike the opening which thunders along, the track has quieter moments despite its rather straightforward chug and uses the clean vocals more- which delves more towards current Whitechapel territory.
‘Abyssal Mouth’ highlights the industrial elements with drums and guitars that sound like they have a huge reverb effect when combined. The stop and go pace of it sounds like a gigantic monster trudging through the mud to devour anyone in its path- a great use of the whole ‘swallow your ear’ effect the band goes for without trying to completely copy a group like Black Tongue’s style. Humanity’s Last Breath doesn’t do anything insanely progressive with this track, but this simple effect really makes it stand out on the album and warrant more attention than some of the others. ‘For Sorg’ features a bit more melody specifically due to buried keyboards and a faster death metal style approach. The rhythms of the guitars are less chugging and there are no vocals, making it a nice break for the album.
On a downside, the album feels like all the good stuff was included in the first half as many of the other tracks kind of lose their special touches and seem to revert to just standard deathcore. ‘Like Flies’ thick chugging and ‘Sterile’ ferocious drumming show the best sides of what one could get from deathcore, but aside from the brutal vocals that listeners have gotten to enjoy so far and a few whispered moments it doesn’t feel like Humanity’s Last Breath is treating anymore. The second ‘interlude,’ ‘Being’ gets things back on track despite no vocals- the samples uses with the quieter atmosphere before exploding at the end are a great segment into ‘Vanda’ which seems like standard deathcore at first, but with the jazzy tone of the guitars and bass along with the rather slow pace really brings back the whole “Abyssal” feeling of the album and keeps that up all the way through the closing ‘Dodgud’ where the clean vocals put on some of the best ‘choir tones’ and really solidify a basic, but progressive element.
“Abyssal” is definitely one of those albums where people looking for fresh deathcore need to turn to. True, their style of progressive isn’t as wild and avant-garde as some other bands out there who really create music on a whole new level that every track is something special, but overall Humanity’s Last Breath have broken out of their earlier shell of generic deathcore and created what feels almost like doom deathcore. The atmosphere is rich, old school, and yet there are plenty of modern touches to balance the whole idea of new school and old school metal together. The vocals alone carry the weight of dread and despair that will really appeal to fans of doom, death metal, or deathcore in general. The instruments that support it merely enhance the sound of an all-encompassing roar that crushes boxed-in boundaries and results in a straightforward metal album with not too many frills and a ‘brootal’ sound one can ‘2 step’ mosh to in the pit.
4.5 / 5 STARS