Human Future is a quintet hailing from South East UK, here on their debut on a major label. Given the band’s name, it is disquieting, if not ironic, that Spectrum is such a distressing listen, as it also ironic that the album is being released under TruthSeeker Records. Human nature, truth seeking, distress… No? Okay. Well, all that sweet irony aside, there’s a whole lot of emotions to be felt here: anger, fear, disillusion, frustration, and especially distress. Right from the tracks’ titles, one thing appears clear: we can’t escape; stuck in an oppressive reality we are left to ponder on our own frail volatility. Spirituality won’t help; faced by the uncertainty of humanity’s future we can only accept that we too will wither. Condemned to this inescapable fate, Human Future channel their distress into a dark, cutting record, Spectrum.
RELEASE DATE: 27 April 2015 LABEL: TruthSeeker Music
The band presents a visceral brand of hardcore punk with clear stoner and indie rock contaminations, all cohesively packaged in 45 minutes of sincere, emotional music. If the album’s title is an indicator of anything is the incredibly wide spectrum of styles and inspirations at play here. From the punk-ish vibe of “Cycle”, to the post-rock atmosphere of “Misery Drone”, the six tracks present a full range of sounds and rhythms, with tight and aggressive beats alternated with (few) more stretched-out phases. The emotive character of some of these tracks is reminiscent of that relatively recent trend of melodic hardcore (of bands like Being as an Ocean or La Dispute) with spoken word passages, softer harmonies, and emotional crescendos. In a captivating way, Human Future include some spoken shouted word passages in their music, without sacrificing their straight-up “punch in your face” kind of approach.
Raw, caustic, uncomfortable, Spectrum is a body-numbing experience. If album’s opener “Forge” left you disoriented, follower “Misery Drone” is simply going to smash your skull. “Cycle” offers a momentary break, but just to pave the road for “All Must Wither”, the heaviest, and best track on the record. If you survived this far chances are that “Aberrations”, with its spot-on, stoner-sludge rock attitude, will leave you gasping for air in view of the final blow. It’s impressive how in just six tracks Human Future showcase extreme genre-bending ductility, switching comfortably between pure aggression and meditative introspection. And how in all these transitions, the band still manages to leave their musical “core” unaltered.
On most occasions in all this sonic chaos, the band is actually able to find a direction and communicate their visceral sense of distress. Other times unfortunately, the message gets lost amongst all these raw emotions and feelings. Closing track “Creation Wish” is a 12-minute-long attack on the listeners’ ears that struggles to bear its own massive weight. Buried by a mass of dissonant sounds and screams there are definitely some very interesting and inspired moments (especially towards the end) that can’t however, make up for the overall lack of direction of the track.
What really keeps this album from collapsing on its own emotional weight however, is how clear and crystalline everything sounds in this mess. Every instrument is clearly audible, nothing sounds too loud or too quiet, including the vocals. While they are loud and abrasive, they never sound loud or abrasive. The vocals don’t stand out so much that they overshadow the music, while the music is never too overwhelming for the message to be heard.
Yes, listening to this album is a bludgeoning experience, but it is as demanding, as it is rewarding. Fast-paced, emotional, heavy, introspective, Spectrum is ultimately a fun listen. In less than a hour, Human Future craft an album that tells a story worth telling, no matter how dark and bitter. The label’s claim to release nothing that sounds “insincere” is never been so much justified. If there’s one word that can describe Spectrum is “honest”. These five fine Englishmen communicate with an open heart. Their message might be hard to digest but all that is required of you is to listen. Open your heart and listen.