Saturday, March 31, 2012

Posted by XhcnoirX |
One of the distinctive styles/sounds of the 90s which is still quite popular these days, is the Clevo sound made popular by bands like Integrity and Ringworm, also referred to as Holy Terror. One of the current bands playing this ferocious and metallic style is Human Demise from the Netherlands. Because of these influences in their music, they also appeared on the 'Harder They Fall' Integrity tribute compilation from 2007. Starting back in 2004 with members from various bands, they've been going strong ever since. After several releases, their second full-length 'Of Wicked Men And Their Devices' was released recently on WTF Records, after a long delay.

This album contains 12 tracks (2 of which are instrumentals) and if you're into the Clevo/Holy Terror sound or 90s metalcore in general, you should check out this album and band if you haven't done so already. HD still sounds as vicious as ever, but have also evolved as a band and as musicians. Their 2 guitarists sprinkle around more leads than before, without going overboard, and the production is top-notch, it's very clear but also powerful. The vocals still have that Human Furnace-like rabid dog quality to them, which is a definite trademark of the HD sound. Musicwise, there's a great mix between almost chugga-chugga like riffs and more technical riffs, while the songs as a whole are songs indeed, and do not sound like thrown-together bits & pieces which happens all too often these days. And best of all, this is still awesome 90s-inspired metalcore, not metal with hardcore influences. The lyrics offer plenty of food for thought and are far from stereotypical, which is always good. The artwork also stands out immediately, which is something that gets touched upon in the interview below. All in all, this is one of the best albums I've heard this year.

You can download 2 tracks from the album on Human Demise's website.

I also asked guitarist Willem and singer Maurice a few questions about the band and this new release.

SITP: Could you give us a biography of Human Demise and maybe explain the influences of Human Demise as a band? You guys seem to have quite different tastes individually but it all comes together well with HD.
Maurice: In 2004 guitarist Paul, drummer Ivo and myself wanted to play metalcore in the vein of Integrity, Ringworm and Strife, because in those days there weren't many bands that played that style. After bass player Jasper joined us, Human Demise was born. We recorded a demo, played a lot of shows, released the EP "Whitechapel Demise", a split 7" with Worth The Pain, our first full length "The Odditorium" and of course our new record. In the first five years of the band we went through some line-up changes, but for the last three years the line-up has been stable. As a vocalist I am of course inspired by Human Furnace of Ringworm and Dwid of Integrity but also by Stephen Bessac of Kickback, Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation and Wrest of Leviathan. Most of the time I listen to a lot of doomy stuff, but I don't think these bands influence Human Demise, perhaps a bit of the dark atmosphere our songs are drenched in.

Willem: Indeed we all have very different tastes in music, ranging from Dutch folk singers to the well-known classical composers and anything in between. What we have in common are hardcore and metal, more specifically 90's era metallic hardcore. This provides a firm base from where we try different things. On "Of Wicked Men..." we have tried to come up with something more interesting by combining all of our individual influences and I think we succeeded. Not that we're forcing things in a specific direction, the music came quite naturally. The addition of Jeroen Koeleman on guitar has really helped this process take shape as he is a very diverse musician and open minded about trying new things. Some of your readers might remember him from his former bands Dead Rivers and Stockholm Syndrome.

SITP: What happened with this album? It was recorded quite a while ago and was originally planned for release last year?
Willem: We tried to come to an agreement with a label which in the end didn't have the time and resources to release our record. Unfortunately this took up a lot of time. Both parties came to the conclusion this wasn't working to our satisfaction so we parted ways on good terms. Our good friend Tim van Kleven of WTF Records had shown interest in our new record but always encouraged us to pursue a record deal that could bring our music to a greater audience. He had already done a tremendous job in releasing our first full-length "The Odditorium" and the split 7" with our Finnish friends Worth The Pain. We’re very satisfied with what he has done for Human Demise in the past, so working with him again felt very natural.

SITP: What inspired you musically and lyrically when you guys were writing this album?
Maurice: The lyrics I wrote for this album are inspired by different themes. For example "Raptio" draws parallels between marriage by abduction nowadays and the capturing of women in the Roman Empire. "Falling empires" is based on the collapse of the Greek and Roman Empire and the prognosis that the same will happen to the USA. "Scapegoat" is about the Buck Riders that terrorized the Kempen region in the Netherlands and Flanders in the 18th century. Innocent people were sent to jail, tortured and executed. Another theme we used that never gets old is organised religion. Both the fanatic side ("False idols vs. false altars”) and how the church in small villages still can have a huge influence on families that are living there ('Baptized'). Most of my lyrics are considerations of several topics, sometimes containing a mild form of judgment. My intention is get people to think about the topic and form their own opinion.

Willem: Despite the line-up changes we've been going through in the past, we've established a stable line up and of course our sound evolved with these events. More and more metal influences crept into our sound, this can be heard in a more thrashy guitar picking technique as well as an increase in double bass drumming. But these are only minor examples, the real influence lies in the atmosphere which is a lot more gloomy than on our other releases. In contrary to what Maurice said earlier I do believe everything you hear or experience influences your writing, be it on a conscious or subconscious level. The songs came to fruition in very different ways, that's why "Of Wicked Men..." is a lot more diverse. A song can start from a riff, beat, lyric or even a certain feeling we wish to put across. From there on there's a lot of arguing and trying different options before settling on the final result. Some of the lyrics were written by Jasper ("Godspeed", "V61.20") and myself ("False idols...", "Solitary death march" and "From bigotry"). Jasper took a more psychological and philosophical route with his lyrics, at least that's my interpretation, while my lyrics with the exception of "False idols..." are of a more personal nature.

SITP: Could you tell us something about the artwork and the artist? It is quite striking and every panel in the booklet seems to have a connection with the lyrics that are printed with it.
Willem: After running into an acquaintance named Willem Jansen, Jasper had a lot of good things to say about him and his work. Willem had just graduated from art school with an amazing interpretation of Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein and based on those drawings we immediately knew this was the right man for the job. Willem Jansen is a very talented and devoted artist and he really went all out on this project. We provided him with the lyrics and recordings of the finished songs and gave him carte blanche. We couldn't be happier with the result. He has also been studying to become a tattoo artist and the progress he has made is mind boggling. Follow these links to see more of his work:

SITP: Any last words?
Willem: During the recording sessions for "Of Wicked Men..." we recorded an extra track which didn't really fit on the album. It's scheduled for release on a compilation which is still being worked on. Thank you very much for your interest in our music. We wish SITP all the best, keep up the good work!