Mercilessly ferocious in breath, sound and accusation, Human Capital is the new album from UK hardcore outfit BAD BREEDING. Fury soaks every second and ingredient within its onslaught but equally bold invention and virulent contagion shapes what swiftly proved to be one compelling and greedily addictive trespass.
Stevenage-based and formed in 2013, BAD BREEDING consists of Chris Dodd (vocals), Angus Gannagé (guitar), Charlie Rose (bass), and Ashlea Bennett (drums). Human Capital is their fourth full-length, the striking successor to releases which have already pulled the keenest plaudits the way of the quartet. Their sound is hardcore and punk bred but equally inclined to draw on the imaginative essences of noise punk and post punk within its invention as the unpredictable dispute fuelled exploits of Human Capital show. It is a release which bruises and abrades with dextrous invention, echoes of bands such as Discharge, Flux of Pink Indians and Aus Rotten caustic essences with the menacing voracious hues of early Killing Joke and Girls In Synthesis also seemingly drawn upon and reinvented in the quartet’s startling individuality; it all making for one of the year’s finest and most corrosive pleasures.
Ravenous in its assault upon political and capitalistic wrongs and misdoings, more intimate implications also referenced in its finely tuned attacks, the release is a blistering offensive in emotion and sound but as in word, a barrage providing honest resolve to the socially and physically punishing trespass of government and record.
It is the imagination and skill behind the dynamics of every track which most hooked us in, album opening Community immediately entangling ears and appetite in a predacious yet catchy rhythmic shuffle and the ominous intimation of the guitar’s melodic toxicity. It is a relatively calm start all the same yet it cannot suppress the volatility beneath, the track erupting with regularity in cyclonic punk voraciousness as Dodd’s throat vents. It is a cunningly virulent proposal and a brutally demanding one, a savagely mesmeric start swiftly backed by the infectiously swinging Joyride. The sense of menace and dispute is straight away there taunting away, the track’s animated rhythmic manipulation and attention urging riffs leading to a raw Gang Of Four-esque incitement; favourite track success soon in its belligerent hands as it bellows in support of working class lives and homes.
The tempestuous invasion of next up Prescription is pure punk hostility, a Crass like acrimony adding to its uncompromising harassment while Misdirection like a street fighter strikes with pugilistic intent from its first breath, rhythms and riffs viciously jabbing as guitars weave to and throe with venomous temptation. Both tracks in their individual dispute burrowed deep with their respective and inescapable off kilter grooves and steel taught wires of enterprise before Arc Eye unleashes a sonic windstorm of animosity, the song with the persecuted as it unleashes its debilitating yet again rousing quarrel.
The album’s title track proved as hypnotic as it was enervating, its post punk rhythms greedily devoured in their agile irritation, Dodd’s vocals as potent and dogged in their impact. The nagging of rhythms continued to orchestrate song and reaction, the clang of guitar similarly post punk nurtured and perfectly aligning to the hardcore goading and subsequent hurricane shared with Nostalgia Trip and Red Flag Rising matching its ravenous appetite and corrosive prowess in their respective onrush and punk ‘n’ roll shuffle. The last is another particular peak in the release, its body a multi-flavoured dervish of sound and enterprise which left body and lungs gasping.
Death March equally hit and hit the spot, flailing away with old school punk rancour and post punk aberrance with the pair of Speculation and Straw Men exposing “the grotesque hypocrisies of imperialism” and “the weight of big tech and how it has worn so many different faces in our lives”, each bred in an invasive orchestration of multi-varied and multi-dynamic incitement, the latter a sandstorm of guitar and voice within which obsessive rhythms tirelessly worked away.
From start to finish, Human Capital left no second void of ferocious intent and invention, album closing Rebuilding summing up that success and empowering confrontation with its caustically atmospheric and spiritually encouraging tempest. Again no mercy is shown or offered within its mercurial but unrelenting cascade of feedback and distortion.
It is a challenging and compelling end to an even more unforgiving, barbarous and exhilarating encounter. Our list of favourites for 2022 has grown with energy these past few weeks and greedily welcomes Human Capital, its creators setting new standards and inspirations for hardcore/post punk imagination.
Human Capital is out now via One Little Independent Records; available @ https://badbreeding.bandcamp.com/album/human-capital
Pete RingMaster 07/09/2022
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