Review Summary: Only suffering is a certainty
All metal signatures that include a core strand or feature a more modern approach, have never had a consensual reception from the headbanging community. While this contemporary aesthetic represents a betrayal of the more conservative canons for some, for others it's a step forward. Given its modern nature, Humanity's Last Breath belongs to that particular niche, destined to always have a mixed reception. Personally, I'm not genrephobic when it comes to metal subgenres, nor am I seeking for specific styles or labels, but rather musical expressions that have the ability to entertain me, and Humanity's Last Breath's Abyssal
has some of those entertaining ingredients.
Before I go any further, I'd like to say I don't know the band's previous work, so my interpretation is based only on the present and on what this album represents at this point in time.
My first reaction to Abyssal
was somewhat indifferent, I went through the album without being particularly enthusiastic. I didn't find anything really exciting, but I didn't stumble upon anything that would take me away either, at least to the point of not giving it a second chance. This usually means the album has the potential to be a grower, which fortunately proved to be the case. After repeated listening, I started to dissect the band's style better, which is close to bands like Thy Art is Murder, but with a more atmospheric and technological approach. This hi-tech perspective manifests itself immediately throughout the first songs, either through the vocal effects in "Bursting Bowel of Tellus" and "Bone Dust" or in the background synthesizers, that help to create the proper atmosphere. The interesting combination of deep gutturals and progressive heaviness is also one of the things that stands out in the first tracks, alongside the solid drumming, which works as a connecting element. If "Abyssal Mouth", which had already been released as a single in 2017, is certainly one of the highlights, the three instrumentals "För Sorg", "Being" and the ecclesiastical "Dödgud" are the most relevant musical pieces in Abyssal
, as they enhance the unsettling mood of the album. The rather disturbing message of "Being" also presents itself as the most meaningful expression in Abyssal
, carrying the heavy burden of disillusionment. This narrative mirrors the band's name and album's title perfectly, being a message that remains, after listening.
As one would expect from a progressive deathcore release, the album presents several aesthetic influences, ranging from brutal deathcore to technical death metal, also including some black metal textures, as we can hear in "Pulsation Black", through its Portal-esque moment. But despite its diversity, the album never disperses or loses focus, always keeping a strong musical direction, thus revealing a clear identity and solid artistic cohesion. The polished production and well balanced mixing are also suitable to style and genre, with nothing relevant to point out. What prevents me from rating Abyssal
higher, are merely subjective factors. A matter of taste, if you will. Although I find the instrumentals and songs like "Abyssal Mouth", "Bone Dust" or "Pulsating Black" quite engaging, I also encounter some generic moments, which bring neither added value to the album, nor anything new to the genre. "Sterile", "Vånda" and "Rampant" are among the tracks that feature those less interesting parts.
is not without its flaws, but it has the merit of being able to shape a disconcerting and disturbing atmosphere, which poses relevant questions about man's disillusionment and contempt for human life.
Everyone dies. Everyone you love is going to die. Only suffering is a certainty.