Review Summary: Humanity’s Last Breath paints a disgustingly vivid picture of a decrepit atmosphere that’s sure to envelop you with its filthy claws.
Atmosphere can be an important tool for any musician to use within their work. It can elevate any piece of music from a decent composition to a consistently engaging journey. Pulling off this atmosphere however can be difficult for some bands to achieve as they lack the proper song writing abilities in order to carry this sound all throughout a record, adding to that there’s the necessary technical ability required from all members of the band to not only create this atmosphere but to also work as a cohesive group to ensure its presented as clear as intended. Enter Humanity’s Last Breath who bring us their self titled debut release after two previous EP releases. Within the first minute the listener is eased into the carnage that is about to erupt as faint screams and electronic static fill the “Intro” track. From here a seamless cut into the first real track builds with a good few seconds of almost tribal-esque drumming until being quickly interrupted with a fast guitar lick and from this point on the proverbial gloves are off.
Those who are at all familiar with the progressive metal genre or more specifically the ever popular “Djent” movement will spot something very noticeable about this album upon first inspection, it sure sounds quite a lot like Vildhjarta. It’s rather impossible to deny the similarities in the core sound that both bands evoke, the dark oppressive atmosphere, the thick heavy guitars, it’s all here. As a result there is an initial barrier to entry that may impede some people, mainly those who can’t get past the fact that they do sound rather a lot like their counterparts. However if you can get past this you’ll actually find that they don’t necessarily heavily borrow as much as you think. Vildhjarta do build an impressive dark atmosphere however they do so with not only mean riffs but also a large amount of soft guitar picking that contrast well against each other in order to create this atmosphere. This idea runs similarly with the vocals even though most of them are growls and screams; there are a few sections where clean vocals are present which again creates this contrasting effect. So a way to look at it is that Vildhjarta use this sound with the aid of more progressive/djent influences, where as Humanity’s Last Breath create this soundscape with different influences. The prominent influence that aids Humanity’s Last Breath is the presence of a deathcore aspect to their sound. For one there is barely a moment to breathe throughout the entire albums run time, whilst there are small asides where the music slows down it usually only lasts for a few brief seconds before returning to the vicious chaos that dominates the record. Also exemplifying this sound is the complete absence of clean vocals as Marcus Hultqvis’s ferocious vocal performance bellows throughout. Finally there’s a noticeable increase in the presence of breakdowns as a result of the deathcore influence which may put some people off the record but they’re inserted within just the right spots and never feel that out of place amongst the sound so it shouldn’t be a large issue for most.
The Achilles heel that plagues this record however is that throughout its entire run time there isn’t much variety to keep things fresh. The oppressively bleak atmosphere does carry this record to its final minutes but there can be some definite fatigue to be had, especially around the mid way point. The only change ups in the overall sound is a short two minute interlude that actually does a fairly good job at fitting in well with the album’s sound and the track “Void” which takes a slower more weighted approach of delivering its sound, by pressuring it on you rather than beating you over the head with it. This blunt approach can turn off people who would prefer a more subtle nuanced experience but the preference in approach is mainly down to personal taste. Although if you are a fan of a blunt approach with this sound then Humanity’s Last Breath doesn't disappoint. Each track provides the listener with a set of disgustingly heavy riffs, thunderous drumming and savage bellowing which all culminates in painting a lucid picture of a violent and destructive beast.
Some may find Humanity’s Last Breath to be too shallow to be worth investing their time into, but those who let it sink its claws into them will find themselves being dragged into a murky abyss where the derelict soundscape will leave them drawing their last breath.