Review: Humanity’s Last Breath – Abyssal

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God dammit.

I feel like Unique Leader is gaslighting me. I could have sworn they suffered a rash of terrible deathcore band signings, but then I see stuff like Continuum and Disentomb coming out and start to wonder if I’d just imagined all of it. Was it another label I was thinking of? Were those Rings of Saturn releases some kind of fever dream? Maybe it was-

Oh. Nope. Here’s Humanity’s Last Breath. I’m not crazy.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the band, their music is what you get when you take Fit For An Autopsy and remove all the fun. It’s largely characterized by super low-tuned chugging (punctuated by the occasional brief burst of speed) and an assortment of pick scrapes and SKREE-ing noises. And really, that’s about it; it’s all so homogeneous and directionless that it’s actually hard to talk about in any sort of meaningful way. It’s all that same “spooky ambient” bullshit that these kinds of bands have been doing for years and very little else.

Rather than attempting any sort of real growth from their previous EP, the band has slapped on a blackened veneer to their music and called it good. That is to say, you’ve got your superficially evil-sounding harmonic minor chord progressions over blastbeats and some parts with tense open chording. It doesn’t actively detract from the songs, but it doesn’t make them any better, either. It’s not even a unique part of the band’s sound; there’s been something of a movement in the deathcore community to a blackened sound in the past couple years, making the whole thing feel even more forced and artificial than the incredibly sterile production could. The only song where this actually does anything interesting is the closer, “dödgud,” but that’s hardly worth sitting through 12 fucking songs to get to.

I’m not typically one to call out people who put together promo packages- they put in a shitload of work trying to get bands recognized- but for fuck’s sake, even the promo writer couldn’t be arsed to care about these guys. Beyond the comically generic writeup, the video link embedded within was for a completely different (and much better) band. Mistakes happen, but I get a kick out of imagining the promoter wanting to get away from this garbage so badly that they just grabbed the URL for the band they were actually listening to and pasted it in there instead.

Pictured above: Humanity’s Last Breath, apparently

Maybe I’m being too harsh on these guys. There are a couple solid riffs amidst the mindless chugs, and it’s clear that they’re all good at their instruments. While I find their particular brand of atmosphere grating, I can also see why some people would latch onto it. There are a couple points where it feels like the band is on the cusp of doing something actually interesting and good, but that only works to the album’s detriment. It just feels that much worse when it seems like something fun is about to happen, and the music just shits out another bland breakdown. It’s enough to save this album from a total flushing, but Abyssal is ultimately just four dudes hammering away at a dead horse with a bunch of 8-string guitars.

1 wet fart out of 5

Abyssal is out now via Unique Leader. While you’re there, consider getting any of these other fantastic albums instead.

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