Released this past March, there is one debut album no one should be passing by without a serious look. It is the self-titled offering from US outfit Human Impact and an encounter destined to frequent the loftier heights of best album choices for 2020 come the end of the year.
With its line-up consisting of vocalist/guitarist Chris Spencer of Unsane, keyboardist Jim Coleman from Cop Shoot Cop, bassist Chris Pravdica renown for Swans and Xiu Xiu, and drummer Phil Puleo who frequents both Cop Shoot Cop and Swans, there was instant anticipation and intrigue for Human Impact and what the band would offer but we cannot say our imaginations came up with anything as striking and thrilling as the reality of the New Yorker’s full-length.
Unleashing noise rock with electronic, industrial, and post punk instincts, the album gives glimpses of its presence in a sinister but subdued climate as November opens things up, a portentous quiet swiftly springing the minacious exploits of bass and guitar. Lively beats similarly reveal their manipulation, the track thickening within the speakers whilst enriching ears with its sinistrous drama with Spencer’s vocals equally as compelling within the quickly addictive trespass. There is contagiousness to every aspect of its enterprise, the bass of Pravdica almost grinning with creative espionage.
E605 follows, it too coaxing ears with a relative calm though this is a far darker and ominous temptation courted by the just as crepuscular hug of keys. Spencer’s vocals focus on the intent and manipulation of the song’s global protagonists as rhythms prowl the senses with a volatility which greedily erupts in the track’s voracious crescendos. There is a descriptive quality to the band’s sound which brings such depth to their songs, a dextrous intimation just as potent within the predatory Protestor and in turn the mercurial Portrait. The first is a snarling beast, but a wily one using every rhythmic twist and sonic thread to enslave as vocals forge disquiet and attitude; electronics a similarly calculating flirtation within the web while the second immerses the listener in a tenebrific electronic and sonic mist from within which Pravdica and Puleo engineer another ear gripping rhythmic manipulation. Even in its calmer stroll, the track is drenched in jeopardy and imposing darkness, every infectious note and magnetic word wrapped in threat.
At times across the release there are echoes of bands such as Big Black and Rapeman but also moments which hint at the likes of Wire and Girls In Synthesis but the uniqueness of Human Impact devours all as proven yet again by Respirator. A line of singular piano notes pave its entrance, they alone a bewitchment which is only concentrated by the swiftly accompanying swing of beats and the raw drawl of bass. The track is soon casting its own particular risk and peril, an instinctive virulence driving every growl and intimidation offered as too the melodic tension and catchy perilous hooks it bears. Proving our favourite moment within the album, the song is superb and indeed gets under the skin to claim one of the best things heard in recent times.
Through the viscerally infective trespass of Cause and Consequences, the first with its caliginous climate and the second through grooved cinematic suggestion, attention turned just as addictive as in any point before them. The latter proved especially gripping and incendiary on the passions while the following Relax whilst allowing a moments breath to be taken, still soaks the senses and imagination in industrial borne fear before in turn Unstable voraciously strolls through ears with the nagging quality of a Leitmotiv and the carnal majesty of an Unsane. Again it is nothing other than an unpredictable and hungry Human Impact incitement to fear and relish.
This Dead Sea brings the album to a close, the voracity of its predecessor now a thick tide of discontent and challenge enriched with hope for all floundering in the world’s tempest. It is a glorious devouring of the senses, a heavy imposition of sound and imagination seriously compelling in its nagging drone, melodic niggling, and sonic trespassing and that is without mentioning the irresistible hooks that litter its insurgency.
With Pravdica and Puleo surely the most potent, powerful, and manipulative rhythmic section anywhere right now and Spencer and Coleman the conjurers of vocal, sonic and melodic addiction, Human Impact has unleashed one of those classic moments which shapes directions of others to come and destined to be a favourite encounters for a great many and certainly us.
The self-titled Human Impact album is out now via Ipecac Recordings.
Also available is a brand new track and single from the band called Contact, another inimitable violation come seduction of sonic causticity and rhythmic instigation which had ears enthralled emotions aflame, and appetite greedy. Proceeds from the single are being be donated to NYC COVD-19 relief fund and can be got @ https://humanimpact.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 10/04/2020
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