Humanity's Last Breath

Välde

Written by: KW on 06/01/2022 23:07:52

Deathcore has often been criticized for being an overly stale genre in recent times, but for a long time, one of the ever pioneering bands within the sphere have been the Swedes of Humanity’s Last Breath. The group’s main songwriting force Buster Odeholm, who is also the drummer of Vildhjarta (a clear inspiration to Humanity’s Last Breath’s music), once again finds new and creative ways to grind the listener into dust with their latest offering “Välde” — an occult behemoth of blackened deathcore loaded with enough weight to smash the Richter scale with its tectonic movements.

Whether it’s through the dissonant tritone wails on the guitars, Filip Danielsson’s beastly growls, or the groovy, angular drumming, “Välde” provides a merciless listen with a pristine production that somehow manages to keep everything clear and crisp, despite the guitars coming across as though they were equipped with bridge cables for strings, if the chugs on display here are anything to go by. “Vittring” jumps out especially in this regard with its utterly ridiculous, rumbling brutality and overt Meshuggah worship — so heavy is this track that you really need to hear it to believe it.

While Humanity’s Last Breath have always been fantastic at dealing out sonic uppercuts in droves, with “Välde” I feel like they have struck a much finer balance of both tempo, technicality and melody like never before, and really carved out a space for themselves. The increase in melodic touches helps break up the abrasiveness and keep the listener on their feet, like the glorious, symphonic doom passage of “Descent”, the almost folky, atmospheric black metal climax of “Dehumanize”, and the beautifully foreboding clean vocals and reverb-laden guitars used in the conclusion of “Tide”.

Worry not, though, if you’re only here for the pummeling deathcore — there is no shortage of it here. In fact, the aforementioned “Dehumanize” features some of my favourite deathcore riffage of 2021 after its patient, mood-setting intro. “Earthless” utilizes flickering synths behind its grinding guitars to cement the horror atmosphere, yet where this aspect truly shines is in the instrumental track “Väldet”, in which creepy, theatrical violins and otherworldly blaring sirens combine into a horrific cinematic piece. It’s been a while since a track has actually succeeded in making my skin crawl, but this certainly succeeded — and I really hope this is a direction they will further explore because, man is it effective!

“Välde” is so bleak that it borders on being difficult to listen to at times, but it nonetheless manages to toe the line instead of crossing it completely, making me come crawling back for more punishment again and again. It is their most diverse and unique release to date and the sign of a band not resting on their laurels. Whether it is possible to play music any heavier than this almost seems laughable at this point, but if any band is going to do it, I would put my money on Humanity’s Last Breath delivering once again in the future.

9

Download: Earthless, Dehumanize, Tide, Väldet
For the fans of: Black Tongue, Reflections, Vildhjarta
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.02.2021
Unique Leader Records

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