Edge Of Beyond
posted on 8/2008 By:
Humangled originally formed in the mid-90s, separated again and reformed a few years back when they released their Refoetalize EP, which I never listened to. Their mix of industrial beats with death metal is good in concept, but in practice, this latest four-song EP is underdeveloped, underproduced, and simply underwhelming.
Edge Of Beyond is an airy mix of triggered drums and vintage death riffing, which is to say that it’s not too blast-heavy or dense, with mechanical drumming and Andy Goreds' low growl. There's an old-school death vibe to the arrangements that I appreciate, an openness of riff and tempo that keeps it well out of Hate Eternal wall-of-sound heaviness and more into first-wave death territory, but it still needs to be punchier and thicker. The drums sound like a drum machine, which of course they are, but they definitely need to hit harder than they do here. Opener "The Serpent Icon" is the closest to that vintage death sound, before "Antonyms" exhibits the first traces of the industrial element in its Al Jourgenson-styled mechanized pulse. "Moshing With Knives" treads further down that path with its chopped staccato intro and its weird keyboard motifs (think the underground levels in Super Mario Brothers, or perhaps a Jock-Jams sporting-event pep-the-crowd-up moment in Hell). The bass guitar (or synth replicating one) is muddy and wanders along beneath everything without being terribly audible or helpful. Perhaps the biggest issue in terms of underproduction, Incyde’s guitar riffs are tasteful and interesting, but his tone is so dry and thin that it robs them of grit and balls.
There are moments of Edge Of Beyond that are cool, a clinical coldness in the combination of death riff and the Godflesh/Ministry aesthetic in the mechanical drumming. Were I to offer advice to Humangled, I'd suggest that they play up the industrial elements (maybe use some samples to spice it up). I'd also suggest that they thicken up their overall sound considerably, particularly the guitar tone, as both of those could really push this into a higher gear, somewhere between Wax Trax industrial and classic Earache death. Then I'd be really interested.
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