AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): HUMAN AGONY — “PUTRESCENCE OF CALVARY”
Black Friday is of course a celebration of cannibalistic commercialism, a paroxysm of merchants and consumers crashing together in a frenzied effort by the former to loot the bank accounts of the latter, and of the latter to claw at the former (and each other) in an effort to save while spending. But Black Friday has a different meaning for some of us. We can bend the meaning of the name into a different kind of standard, a different representation of cannibalistic war-zone frenzy. Which brings us to Human Agony.
Today is the day on which Invictus Productions is releasing the debut album of these satanic devastators from Victoria, British Columbia. Not for naught does the advance press for Putrescence of Calvary make reference to the likes of Conqueror, Revenge, Black Witchery, and Blasphemy. If you are adherents to such standard-bearers of bestial black/death, you’ll relish being torn limb from limb by what Human Agony are doing — and we’ll give you that chance through our premiere of a full album stream.
The introductory track — a creation by harsh noise musician Striations — is an appropriate scene-setter, delivering an eerie and abrasive cacophony that inspires visions of torture chambers in Hell, complete with the bestial roars of the torturers and the horrid screams of the tortured. That’s followed by “Corpse Womb of Antichrist”, which will give you an even better idea of what you’ve gotten yourself into. All thundering drums, riotous screams, cavernous bellows, and roiling barbed-wire riffage, that track is an expression of sadistic, scraped-raw chaos segmented by bombastic detonations of grandiose chords and calamitous drum strikes.
The vicious depredations perpetrated in that first full track and the atmosphere of unbridled blood-letting it creates will continue throughout most of the remaining tracks (all of them short, sharp shocks) as the band continue to combine extravagant drum acrobatics, crazed fretwork frenzies, and terrifying vocal madness, while also continuing to pound the listener’s skull with brutal grooves, and to intersperse moments in which they take their feet off the gas and generate music of mortifying misery, claustrophobic gloom, tyrannical imperiousness, or swaggering below-the-waist thrusting.
Those moments that bring a bit of order to the violent insanity and that enable the listener to take a few (poisoned) breaths before the torrent resumes are welcome, because the impact of the cyclonic guitars (which are constantly coated in filthy distortion and vibrating with hornet-swarm menace) is so calamitous, the drum and bass work so furious and mercilessly destructive, and the vocals so demonically berserk that an unbroken run of it would be like trying to stand against a hurricane.
Don’t get me wrong, this kind of filth-ridden, turbocharged blasphemy and blastery is damned exciting. And after the ear-abrading ugliness of the unnamed mid-album interlude, you’ll be left hungering for another run through the gauntlet — if you haven’t already run for the hills with this onslaught hot on your heels. That running of the gauntlet doesn’t happen right away, because “Purity Withdrawn (Angelic Castration)” begins in an oppressive, bone-smashing stomp, but don’t worry, it won’t be long before the band deliver another scorching, mutilating blast of delirious fury. Of the remaining tracks, “Mastered on Crucifix” is particularly off-the-hook, thanks to a shrieking, fret-melting solo that hurls the music to new heights of flesh-ripping lunacy.
At the end, we revisit the torture chambers of Hell (manifested again by Striations), because of course we must. Human Agony‘s devotion to satanic terror and torment is single-minded — there can be no mercy shown and no hope glimpsed.
The album features cover art by Finnish artist Heidi Kettunen. It is being released today by Invictus Productions on both blood-red and black vinyl, on CD, and digitally. You can pick it up now in any or all of those formats:
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