Human Cull: Stillborn Nation

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Human Cull: Stillborn Nation
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Human Cull: Stillborn Nation
Grindcore
WOOAAARGH Records
March 31st, 2014
Release length: 25:15
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Originally formed under the name Gran Toucher, Human Cull has spent the past few years gaining recognition in the Grindcore world, but more notably in the UK branch. Hailing from the town of Exeter, this three-piece group has been making waves since their self-titled EP in 2011. Over the next few years they issued two split releases, as well as two more EPs, which includes the recent The Persecuting Society self-release back in January of this year. A little more than two years and a few smaller recordings later, the group finds themselves with WOOAAARGH Records to issue their anxiously awaited debut full-length effort Stillborn Nation. Is this the effort fans have been waiting on, or is the band unable to keep those twenty-five minutes exciting the whole way through?

Right away the twangy guitar effect will stick right out. While this is rather common for Grindcore, the leads here are rather thin thanks to this distortion, allowing the bass guitar to stick out more with its deeper tuning. Of course the feedback that starts “Teeth for Revenge” is as crisp as it is ear piercing and loud for ten seconds straight. The dulled audio quality laced with growling and shouting gives the music more of a bite, especially during this cut that doesn’t really go anywhere. “Global Furnace” packs a good deal of energy into the just over one minute length, and plenty of changes too. The guitar actually sounds mechanical at the start, but that shifts during the faster two-step passage about half way in, which is also felt in “Unwelcome Methods” a lot more. There is an odd drum pattern that hits about half way through, but it’s transitioned well enough out of some more aggressive blast beat fuelled passages.

“The Sentence is Death” roars as much as it could at the start. The twangy effect really dominates this faster track, helping the enthusiasm behind the performance until some cleaner notes kick up in the last few seconds behind the chanting of the song’s title. The adrenaline is matched by “Jackals,” though the bass manages to stick out a little more. About half way through the pace slows to a crushing crawl that sounds great where placed, shifting nicely back into the faster material. “Death Rituals” carries a nice beefy groove for the first twenty seconds before the guitars and drum patterns kind of conflict a bit. That rich pounding is found on “Grey Planet” as well, pulsing nicely behind the high pitch chords and blistering drums. And let’s not forget the short but crushing bass lines of “Apathy Advocate” that are simply menacing. And then there’s “Superstitous Disease” and the interesting choice of clean riffs that crop up at the start, giving an eccentric touch to the mix that only increases the later intimidating hostility from the music.

There is one last song worth noting, and it’s the nearly five and a half minute closing track “Echoing Silence.” This is what really bulks up the life of the album, and comes off more like an extended introduction to a live set. While some tracks do have a subtle Death Metal touch to the performances, this one has the most obvious presence in the deep, groove filled riffs that maintain a steady rhythm to where it almost becomes hypnotic if not for the small changes that make it richer. This isn’t a bad performance, but it feels horribly misplaced. Had this started off Stillborn Nation instead of “Teeth for Revenge,” the tension and excitement for what’s to come would have been greater than what the ten seconds of feedback tied to a go-nowhere song gives off.

One spin through Stillborn Nation and it’ll immediately become clear as to why Human Cull has been steadily making a name for themselves. The group takes influences from the likes of Napalm Death, Nasum and Gadget, and uses that thinner twang to their advantage to make their material sound a little more unique than it actually is. While it’s nothing really new, it’s executed very well, rarely leaving a song mildly engaging at the very least. It’s just a shame the band dropped the ball as far as what song should have started this recording off, leaving you feeling kicked in the nuts by the end at how much more enjoyable “Echoing Silence” would have made the beginning due to sheer tension and build up. That said, if you enjoy a good Grindcore album, there’s no reason to ignore Stillborn Nation. It won’t exactly rip your face off, but it’ll sure stomp on it a good number of times.

01. Teeth for Revenge – 1:02
02. The Sentence is Death – 0:44
03. Jackals – 0:53
04. Bomb Gripper – 0:31
05. Global Furnace – 1:04
06. Stillborn Nation – 0:43
07. Unwelcome Methods – 1:30
08. Death Rituals – 0:32
09. Superstitous Disease – 1:02
10. Barely Hominid – 1:03
11. Sick With Hate – 1:00
12. Entombed by Progress – 0:49
13. Point of No Return – 1:10
14. Grey Planet – 0:54
15. Chemical Lobotomy – 0:45
16. Obliterated – 0:50
17. Free to Suffer – 0:20
18. Apathy to Advocate – 1:01
19. You Can’t Disappear – 0:42
20. Anger Inferno – 1:32
21. Unwilling Martyrs – 0:36
22. Only Ashes – 1:05
23. Echoing Silence – 5:29
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Human Cull
Human Cull

Digital review copy of this release provided by WOOAAARGH Records via Dewar Promotions.