Since its drastic rise to popularity several years back, the djent style has manifested itself in numerous weird and wonderful ways. The technique and tone itself has leaked into prog, metalcore, deathcore, and death metal bands alike, but it would seem that Humanity’s Last Breath have settled themselves into a category containing everything in-between. Boasting an abundance of blast beats, filthy breakdowns, blackened influences, and deep growls, it has proven difficult since their debut album to pinpoint exactly what their sound is. But categories and genres aside, it is clear that they are quite simply putting out the heaviest material possible, and are taking the scene by storm with their unique style. In this sense, we assure you that Detestor does not deviate from the band’s general vibe one bit. Sounding as evil and brutal as ever, make no mistake, Humanity’s Last Breath are back.
As would be expected from record that is just five tracks in length, by a band with so much to offer within their sound, there is no holding back whatsoever from these guys in diving straight into it. Following a short but intense theatrical intro, the listener is delivered with the first of many heavy, down-tempo grooves, leading subsequently into a blast beat section with deep growls layered over. All of this is unsurprisingly accompanied by utterly huge and epic production, accentuating every component and producing a truly brutal effect. Undoubtedly pure gold to the ears of this band’s fans, this section bleeds seamlessly into the record’s first of many signature Humanity’s Last Breath breakdowns, and once again with the mix as impactful as it is, the sheer groove is irrefutable. Predictably, this impact carries forth with full effect for the duration of the record. The fourth track and lead single for the record, “Beware”, is truly as heavy and aggressive as it gets within the prog-metal genre; the intro and conclusion to this song will surely knock you on your feet if you’re a fan of any kind of heavy music, particularly djent, both consisting of down-tuned and down-tempo breakdowns that really highlight the vast influence taken from Vildhjarta’s style.
Aside from being unbelievably brutal, all of this certainly doesn’t fail in creating a distinctly dark and evil vibe, and one that is clear in particular from the final and title track, “Detestor.” Just past the three minute mark, we are presented with an eerie moment of near-silence, followed by another slow and heavy breakdown, this time with an operatic vocal sample placed over the top, performed by Jessica Curry. Jessica is one of the main composers and performers for the renowned horror-themed video game ‘Amnesia’, and it is entirely clear why this band have opted to obtain the rights to use it. The feel it creates is strikingly dark and atmospheric, and displays not only the creativity at play in the writing process but also the lengths this band will go to, to heighten their dark vibe as much as possible.
As striking and impressive as this EP is at times, there are some potential downsides that can be identified. Detestor produces a similar impression to their previous work, in that their signature, brutal guitar style (‘Thall’, if you really want to call it that) can wear on the listener after a while and become somewhat repetitive. Considering how big and epic this band’s sound comes across, and how well produced their material is, it often seems a shame that their instrumental work is less inventive than it could be, with far too much focus on showing off their ridiculously crisp and low tones.
A similar point could be made regarding the vocals; it would seem that all of the vocal parts are specifically engineered to be as low as possible, and therefore to compliment the instrumental rather than to add a new dimension to the sound; a little more range from the vocalist would really add a lot to this band’s sound. On this subject, it is also hard to ignore the impression that Humanity’s Last Breath really are all about the infinitely heavy instrumental, and not so much on writing songs as a unit. Not only do the vocals seem to just simply compliment the other instruments, but the band also opted to release an instrumental version of the entire EP on the same disk. This hints at the fact that they place little confidence in their vocalist and his ability to be at the centre of the band’s atmosphere.
To conclude, Humanity’s Last Breath evidently have a great deal going for them. Their brutal and ‘djenty’ sound is well-composed and masterfully produced, creating something that sounds truly huge on record. If you’re a fan of djent and deathcore in particular, then this really is without a doubt the perfect middle-ground for your ears. However, commenting from a progressive point of view, Detestor can on the whole come across as rather samey and limited in terms of creativity. Without a doubt, the band have their foot firmly in the door within the genre, landing themselves on prestigious line-ups such as Tech-Fest; however, next time I feel like it would be refreshing to hear the same brutality and darkness from this band that we all know and love, with slightly more technicality and creativeness thrown in, to add much greater of a balance in the sound.
Notable tracks: “Beware”, “Ocean Drinker.”
FFO: Vildhjarta, Bermuda, Black Tongue.