Monday, November 23, 2009

HUMAN REMAINS - EP'S (1992/1996)

For my metal dollar, it doesn't really get much better than New Jersey's Human Remains.
Despite a minimal, spotty discography comprised of a couple demos, a couple singles, and a couple EP's, these guys forged a truly unique and inspired sound before disappearing into the grindcore ether well before their time was up. When I try to imagine what the PERFECT death metal band would sound like, my brain comes up with something pretty goddamn close to Human Remains. Weird, atonal guitar riffage with plenty of rapid volume knob manipulation, strange harmonics, and kind of a 'Middle Eastern' feel, blasting drums, schizophrenic changes, early-90's-Florida vocals -- A truly freaky and cacophonous concoction, superbly crafted without sounding the least bit pretentious or artsy-fartsy, blazingly speedy and crushing without falling into any of the well-worn conventions of the genre. So good. So, so good.

Human Remains' two most accessible recordings were released in 1992 and 1996, the first being an EP entitled Admirations Most Deep And Foul (shown above), and the second another short-player called Using Sickness As A Hero (shown at right). While the 3-song Admirations suffers from the expected lack of decent production, it is nonetheless a crippling mission statement from an obscure and multi-talented band, and the 7-song Sickness follows up nicely, with better production and improved songwriting.
These guys definitely share some common ground soundwise with Obscura-era Gorguts (although HR is more dynamically challenging and less repetitive), and could probably even be compared, evolution-wise, to bands like Brutal Truth or even a jazz-less Cynic. Guys from this band went on to play in such disparate and successful metal groups as Municipal Waste, Burnt By The Sun, and Discordance Axis, which led to a Relapse Records re-issue/discography called Where Were You When... in 2002.
This shit KILLS, straight up.

Download both EP's in ONE handy file right HERE
Buy the Relapse discography HERE

Human Remains on Myspace


Helm said...

Only thing I never liked about them is the Chuck-alike vocalist. I imagine them with someone more idiosynchratic and it's a good thought. It's in the same way T.O.O.H! would be a worse band if they didn't have the unique and slightly farcical vocals on top of the chaos.

The first thing I always remember when I think of Human Remains are the ghost notes, what an idea to put into death metal!

I think Obscura by Gorguts isn't very close because for all the savagery, Human Remains feel like good-time music for me, you know? That the dudes playing this were enjoying it carries along a lot in the music, whereas Obscura is a very tortured and tortuous record for me, especially in the valleys of discordant doom in there.

Shelby Cobras said...

Yeah, I guess I was looking at it more from a technical standpoint rather than the overall "feel" of the music. I see the connection because both bands just make some really off-the-wall noises on their instruments, shit that no one had done in metal until the releases of said albums. Gorguts had their weird clean hammer-ons and bouncy bass chords, HR had the ghost notes and logic-defying changes. I see their similarities in terms of creativity and innovation, is I guess what I'm trying to say. And I don't mind Chuck-alikes.

Helm said...

Ultimate test: wouldn't you prefer Cynic's 'Focus' with just the robot voice?

Shelby Cobras said...

As much as I like the robot voice, I'd still have to say no. I like the variety. Did you hear Traced In Air, though? Yuck.