Monday 18 May 2015

William English - 'Basic Human Error' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 30/06/2015
Label: Grandad Records

‘Basic Human Error’ CD//DD track listing:

1. Bud Vessel
2. Life Of A Fisherman
3. Seaweed
4. Captain Tugboat
5. Grandpa Sorrow Pt. 1
6. A Monger
7. Grandpa Sorrow Pt. 2

William English is:

Vocals | Shane Miller
Drums | Joseph Woodbury
Guitar | David Vickers
Guitar | Carter
Bass | Callum 'The Wizard' Gibbe


I wasn't personally familiar with William English before getting this for review and perhaps like many others, I immediately thought this band had submitted their stuff to the wrong site. That could not be farther from the truth as William English fucking pummel you with sludge bombs from start to finish on their new release 'Basic Human Error.' With a mostly nautical theme, William English starts crushing almost immediately on ripping opener “Bud Vessel.” With a furious tempo and swift careening riff changes, truly if you were onboard this “Bud Vessel” you would be subjected to a festival of projectile vomiting the likes of which you haven't seen since calling the carnival tilt-a-whirl operator a pussy in high school.

The second track “Life of a Fisherman,” moves into a slower tempo for most of its length channeling a bit of “Remission” era Mastodon in some of the lead lines. The churning riff tempo changes are played fantastically by drummer Joseph Woodbury, who uses his fills brilliantly to add lots of dynamic movement to the track.

Moving into the southern sludge influenced track “Seaweed,” William English enters into rolling riff territory and the hallmark of this style. Once the chugging hits, the track reminds me of early Mastodon, again in a really good way. I actually wish Mastodon still wrote songs like this, as on their newer stuff the heavier parts sound forced and aren't given time to breathe. William English exhibit a great maturity in their song writing on this one, by not overplaying and giving the riffs space to establish a heavy head nodding groove.

Personally I would have opened the album with the fourth track “Captain Tugboat” as it has a quick short intro right into speed-sludgery which abounds the rest of the track, it's simply awesome, particularly the outro section with a cool ascending riff. The centrepiece of this album is clearly the two parter ‘Grandpa Sorrow’, which is oddly separated on the tracklist.  The first part is mostly setting up a theme for the records epic conclusion with ‘Grandpa Sorrow Part 2’ similar to Tool's “Wings for Marie” from '10,000' days. Beginning with a chuggy progession, William English phases in samples and instrumentation at the beginning of “Grandpa Sorrow Pt 2” with a well placed slow build-up. There is nice pacing throughout the song and William English move through the sections keeping it interesting and switching the tempos to halftime and back, sometimes mid-riff. The last sections of the song move into some thrashy epic sludge and is both the highlight of the song and the highlight of the album.  The track that separates the two is 'A Monger' and is probably the heaviest track on the album and definitely the most hardcore influenced.  'A Monger' is perhaps the most straight forward track compared to the rest of the album, but is well crafted and well executed and still boasts the same kind of heavy riffery that William English has mastered.

On the whole this is a very well recorded album and everything can be clearly heard throughout. For me, it is one of the best releases I've heard this year, William English have crafted a brilliantly heavy record with 'Basic Human Error' and will no doubt feature in many top 5 lists at years end. I strongly suggest you ignore the odd name and check it out; it's a fantastic piece of sludgy hardcore.

Words by: Chris Tedor

‘Basic Human Error’ is available here

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