Humanity’s Last Breath “Ashen”

One of Sweden’s most interesting outfits release their self proclaimed fourth proper full length and continue to elevate a sound they helped develop in the early 2010’s. While bands like Vildhjarta and Four Question Marks have all but disappeared, and Tesseract have entirely lost the plot, HLB kept chiseling away at their efforts of developing “thall” in a strange, uninterrupted legacy that continued to expand and remained relevant as the band stayed focused building their catalog. Bands like Reflections have tried to nip at this brand of chaotic heavy, and although spectacular, just seem like child’s play in comparison to these metallic lords.

For those uninitiated, this brand of heavy is its own thing completely. Do not mistake it for deathcore, death metal, beatdown, downtempo or even consider the vocals as a means of classifying this class of metal, because the reality here is that what we’re really listening to is a flawless execution of intricacies. The precision, the nuance, the effort of ensuring there isn’t a hum, or a buzz lingering about. Honestly, I can almost hear the cost of the gear on the album when I listen to it! 

There are some wild audio landscaping moments, full of lush sounds to experience on headphones and this is much, much more than just a random heavy record like a Black Tongue or a Primitive Man doom related release. In my opinion, it’s probably the band’s best and is also climbing up heavily next to some of the year’s more interesting records.

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