Album Reviews

Human Impact: Human Impact – “Music that tiptoes on the razor wire”

Members of Swans and Cop Shoot Cop team up to make a cauldron of white noise on their debut release.

Human Impact are the newly established supergroup featuring Chris Spencer (Unsane), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop), Chris Pravdica (Swans) and Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop/Swans).

Signing to Ipecac Recordings late last year, they release their eponymous debut album.

On the eve of the release of Human Impact, much hype surrounded the four-piece with the New York Times claiming “This supergroup’s line-up represents the fulfilment of a noise rock fan’s most fervent wish…”

And they weren’t far wrong, for this is indeed the kick up the arse that noise-rock in 2020 needs.

Human Impact deals very well in the no-fucking-around department, opening up with the war-torn chaos that is November. The track leans on that Swans-inspired drone with a guitar swing reminiscent of Mike Patton‘s Tomahawk project.

E605, Protestor, Relax and Unstable are each a lethal concoction of hell-fire with echoes of Big Black and a backdrop drenched in futuristic Philip K. Dick-inspired tones and rib-tickling chords.

Portrait continues the barrage. The track a comet-exploding tribal-rock assault right out of the playbook of new-era Swans. Respirator follows the Gira homage with prickly undercurrents of sound that simmer then spit raw fury.

Human Impact: Human Impact

Although a contrast to its siblings, Cause feels like the centrepiece to the album. A morose proto-rock offering that drones and howls from the bellows of existence, while Consequences puts the nail well and truly in the coffin to a proposed Jesus Lizard reunion and new record. Yes, we don’t need either of them anymore.

The Dead Sea is a fitting finale, touching on the origins of hard-nosed noise-rock with bowel shuddering electronics and death-roll percussion. It’s a frenetic end to 41 minutes of a splintering interpretation of a musical community that found far too many imitators midway through last decade.

Human Impact revitalises things here, though, with intense, bona fide music that tiptoes on the razor wire.

It’s music rendered by a collective of seasoned campaigners who have participated in the school of hard knocks and you can feel the rawness with these songs. Somehow, each member has come together to form an organic bond and has presented 10 bludgeoning ear-splitters worthy of anyone’s time.

Noise rock fan’s most fervent wish? Indeed.

Human Impact is out now via Ipecac Recordings

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

One reply on “Human Impact: Human Impact – “Music that tiptoes on the razor wire””

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