To borrow a phrase from Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.”
Consider this: a Spanish band named Inhumankind whose musical instruments solely consist of the flute and the acoustic double bass, and who draw freely in their compositions from a broad range of musical inspirations, including (but not limited to) classical and black metal; with minimalist lyrics that draw upon the left-hand path, voiced in ritualistic fashion by two accomplished women and a vicious death growler; and an album named Self-Extinction that was produced by Colin Marston (who also contributed percussion to one of the tracks). Consider further what the esteemed Mr. Marston has said about the album:
“Existing at the nexus of modern classical music and extreme metal, Inhumankind have a completely unique sound. Aggressively played flute, acoustic bass, and occasional vocals are excellently employed to create compositions that are simultaneously sparse and complicated, awkward and confident. This is one of the most original albums to come across my desk in quite some time!”
And now take a deeper look at the cover painting by Italian master Ettore Aldo Del Vigo.
If you have not become intrigued by now, then your time might be better spent elsewhere. If your interest has been piqued, however (mine sure as hell was), then you will want to experience the two songs from Self-Extinction that we’re presenting today in advance of its March 30 release by I, Voidhanger Records. They might take you far out of your listening comfort zone, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything more original and distinctive this year.
The men behind Inhumankind are Pablo Selnik (flute) and Àlex Reviriego (double bass), and we’re told that both are active in many underground avant-garde acts, and that both love a wide spectrum of music, including black metal, contemporary, free jazz, and noise.
Pablo Selnik explains: “The Inhumankind project emerged a couple of years ago. After working together on several projects, we decided to start playing some black metal covers re-arranged for a flute/double bass duo, but soon we realized there was some kind of potential on it, and we started writing original music, prioritizing a personal style and music language.”
The lyrics for the songs on the album draw upon such occult archetypes as the “qliphotic tree, hermetic kabbalah, grimoric magic and multi-pantheon deific masks like Lilith, Kali, Qayin, and Samael.” And the lyrics, often performed in the manner of vibrant chants, are expressed principally by Celeste Alías and Marta Valero, with occasional death growls by Eric Baule from the Spanish band Moonloop.
With that background, let’s turn to the two songs we’re premiering today — “Double-Headed King” and “Against All Odds“. Both are compact compositions, but they seem barely confined by anything else but time. As Àlex Reviriego rapidly plucks the bass with a jazz-like flair, Pablo Selnik produces notes that dart, dive, and swirl in a frenzy, producing sounds of discord and delirium, while the vocalists contribute to the seeming pandemonium with their own darting tones.
But it soon becomes apparent that “pandemonium” is only a way of expressing the wild and electrifying effect that the music produces on the mind. The performances themselves are not haphazard, but well-crafted and tightly executed in a way that joins the intricate, tempo-dynamic contributions of the instruments and the voices together coherently — even if they de-cohere your thought processes.
Of the two songs, “Against All Odds” is the darker and more unsettling of the two, with both the instruments and the vocals creating a hallucinatory experience. And the differences between these two songs don’t come close to exhausting the creative exuberance displayed on the album, or the devilish ingenuity with which Inhumankind have used their talents.
As disclosed above, Self-Extinction will be released by I, Voidhanger on March 30, in a jewel-box CD edition with an 8-page booklet, and as a digital download. The pre-order link is below.
1. Double-Headed King (2:29)
2. Annihilation Of All Inferior Thought-Forms (2:28)
3. Against All Odds (2:47)
4. Citizen Qayin (3:38)
5. Land Of The Shells (3:52)
6. Blue Skin (3:05)
7. Antinomic Self-Cosmogony (2:23)
8. Self-Extinction (2:42)
9. Eternal Sleep (3:13)
Total Time 26:37