Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Human Condition - "Pathways" (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/12/2015 (DD) |
June 2016 (CD)
Label: Topillo Records


This is a classy album, full of doom and melancholy. The band are great live and boasts some of the North West's most enduring doom talent from such luminaries as Unsilence, for instance. The band play a blinder throughout and front man Nathan Harrison really captures the feeling of powerlessness so prevalent in the lyrics and themes here. Harrowing stuff indeed.

“Pathways”CD//DD track listing:

1). The Tempest
2). The Things I Should Have Said
3). The Gifts I Gave
4). Pathways
5). Chrysalis
6). 22 Years
7). My Will Has Gone

The Review:

Downcast and down tuned doom, The Human Condition are a gloomy proposition from the North West. This is no easy listen, so prepare yourself for a rather desolate world view. Opener “The Tempest” is as stormy as its name suggests. You get a warm and somewhat bass-y sound with clean vocals in the traditional style, but way down the register from Dio, Halford et al. Killer riffs abound as does a weighty middle section. “The Things I Should Have Said” is a reflective and introspective listen, combining a Paradise Lost-alike arrangement with a convincing hook to the vocals.

The record is as dark as can be, with tracks such as “The Gifts I Gave” reminding you of why everything is a waste of time, that there is no hope and that there is also no future. The title track is a lumbering beast of heavy riffs and downbeat lyrics. “Chrysalis” is a similar proposition and is despairing, but there are glimmers of hope over its ten minutes- which come to naught, of course.  Listening through the album whilst on a bus journey, for example (which I did this week!), really brings home the enormity of the hopelessness of our existence.

Believe me, this is not a happy record or an album by some sludge band, playing in said genre because it is currently cool and easier to play than other metal sub-genres: this is incredibly depressing true doom. “22 Years” doesn't offer any respite, while “My Will Has Gone” lifts the tempo a little into a swinging shuffle, but does not lift the spirits any.

This is a classy album, full of doom and melancholy. The band are great live and boasts some of the North West's most enduring doom talent from such luminaries as Unsilence, for instance. The band play a blinder throughout and front man Nathan Harrison really captures the feeling of powerlessness so prevalent in the lyrics and themes here. Harrowing.

Pathways” is available here
Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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