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Humanity Zero : Withered In Isolation

Greek band Humanity Zero deliver a decent Peaceville-style slow Death/Doom opus.

Iím walking into this review somewhat blindly, given that Iíve never listened to Greeceís Humanity Zero before. Prior to listening to the album, my expectation was that this would be somewhat similar to the stereotypical Chilean Death/Doom release i.e. broken English, fast-paced music with poor production. Letís see if Humanity Zero can surprise me.

Upon listening to this album, I have to hold my hands up and admit that Humanity Zero did indeed manage to surprise me, at least toward the start of this release. I was more inclined to believe that Iíd hear your typical uptempo Death/Doom from a "former Death Metal" act - you know the script by now - but thatís not really the case here. Indeed, Humanity Zero play a much slower brand of Death/Doom and even employ the odd violin as well as several atmospheric acoustic sections, which appeals to me a lot.

In terms of comparisons, Iíd perhaps cautiously edge toward 'Withered In Isolation' sounding somewhat akin to 'Like Gods Of The Sun' by My Dying Bride, albeit with an annoying drum setup. Vocally, they remind me more of Mourning Beloveth, however, so I would certainly avoid labelling them as a copycat band. Essentially, I feel comfortable in saying that Humanity Zero, no matter what influences theyíve taken, have done things their own way on this release. Iíd say that theyíve done it well too.

Donít get me wrong - I donít think this release contains anything that anybody hasnít heard before. However, itís varied enough for it to be enjoyable - thatís my stance. Itís very easy to tell that time and effort went into producing each track rather than just a jumbled mess of "hit and hope" playing. Bear in mind that Humanity Zero donít just toy with acoustics and violins; they also utilise softly spoken intervals and the odd uptempo section plus accompanying solos. Thereís a little bit of something for everybody on 'Withered In Isolation', in my opinion.

As for what annoys about this album, there are some things - but nothing too heavy. For example, I simply donít like the way the drums sound on 'Withered In Isolation' because I think they sound cheap and somewhat pointless. It doesnít ruin the music because of the style that Humanity Zero play but I think it could be that bit more powerful if done properly. I also donít think that they have the right kind of vocalist to cater for the softly spoken sections, given the somewhat contemplative atmosphere theyíre seemingly attempting to generate. I also think that they could have done with dulling the odd violin section too - it sometimes sounds a bit too sharp and uplifting for the music theyíre playing. Lastly, an oldie but goldie - I cannot stand broken English! I appreciate that nobody in this band has English has their first language but they must surely know somebody that does that could review their lyrics for them before the release is issued? Hell, Iíd do it myself if asked! Misanthropic and generally depressive lyrics may not be unique nowadays but itíd be good to be able to decide whether theyíre helpful to the music without constantly thinking "What is this supposed to mean?".

As I said though, the above are not catastrophic problems; itís more about personal preference, I suppose. Overall, I have to admit that I do like this album. Even if the atmosphere generated could be stronger, I still find merit in its brooding nature and occasional burst of aggression. The production is better than I was expecting; I never struggled to hear any instruments. The growled vocals complement the music very well. Basically, itís a good release with the odd flaw. Iím also going to express my love for the piano accompaniment at the end of the release too. Iím a sucker for that kind of "steering", if you will, and I think Humanity Zero did it really well - and Iíve not found many Doom bands that have managed to pull such off well.

I stand by my earlier comparison of Humanity Zeroís 'Withered In Isolation' to My Dying Brideís 'Like Gods Of The Sun' with a less impressive drumming output, and Iíll throw in that fans of earlier Avernus might find some merit here, albeit a harsher presentation than Avernus tended to utilise.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Withered In Scars
2. Away From The Light
3. Reveries Of My Stained Mind
4. Fading In A Cryptic Obscurity
5. Solitary Confinement
6. Horrendous Growls
7. Blood Redemption
8. The Dungeon
9. Premonition

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the Humanity Zero bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-06-30 by Ian Morrissey
Thermal Mass
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