Thursday, October 24, 2013

Humanity's Last Breath - Self Titled

When the single ‘Animal’ released last year Humanity’s Last Breath found themselves with a plethora of both positive and negative feedback. ‘Animal’ garnered plenty of positive attention for its immense sound and excellent production quality which saw a rather good boost from the bands debut album Structures Collapse. The negative feedback came in with the comparisons to Vildhjarta who had gained tons of popularity from their release Masstaden. Some listeners just felt the band aligned themselves too closely to Vildhjarta’s sound.

While yes Humanity’s Last Breath do wear their inspirations on their sleeves, which could honestly be said about most every ‘djent’ band out there, Humanity’s Last Breath doesn’t feel like a rip off album. It’s unique enough to stand out and powerfully written. They turn both the deathcore and tech death metal influences up a notch and blended it with an excellent sense of atmosphere. Structures Collapse had shown that the band understood how to play with atmosphere to make the album and their sound unique, and this self-titled release only furthers that.

The album begins with a building of eerie outlandish sounds that flows into the first real track ‘Bellua Pt.1’ where the drums come in over the ambiance and then shortly after that the roaring sound of djenty guitars come in and the album truly begins.

With the advent of the so called djent genre, the use of this style of guitars has made it rather easy to get really clean and crisp sounding guitars, and this album is no exception. Everything sounds crystal clear. From the previous described intro when you get great sounding thundering drums to the cacophony of sound in the ‘Outro’ track. The mixing is perfect and everything works well together to create a fantastic meld of sounds.

Along with other improvements the vocals seem to have become clearer and fuller. Whether it’s from development of vocalist Marcus Hultqvist, a boost from the production clarity, or a combo of both, the vocals really stand add depth to the band’s sound. The band released an instrumental version of the album as well which does stand up on its own and will probably be good for people who want to do vocal covers or just enjoy instrumental music, however it was hard not to just hear the vocals in your head when listening to the album, especially on a song like ‘Animal’ where the vocal hooks are some of the best parts.

What stands here is an excellent album that takes numerous influences and some fresh ideas and blends them really well into a nice mixture of atmospheric progressive death metal/deathcore. It’s really hard to pin these guys down to just one genre, but that’s far from important really. Humanity’s Last Breath is one of the best djent albums out there right now, along with one of the best albums this year.

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