After unleashing an relenting tome of urban decay on Earthen Urn in 2013, one of New England’s best kept secrets is back with their second full length album, Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I . In Human Form’s latest album offers six tracks of progressive black metal, delving further into the rabbit hole of lengthy, evocative tracks than the 2013 debut went. Three of the pieces play like interludes, leaving the remaining three tracks to make up a vast majority of the fifty-two minute playing time.
The band claims that the album is “a grand, introspective meditation on abysmal themes and mortality.” Indeed, the album does have an extremely meditative quality with its flowing passages, yet the miasmic and ever-churning black metal invokes a dark and malevolent type of introspection. The serpentine guitar lines and choppy, rollicking percussion is balanced out by progressively-tinged, jazzy movements and the throat scraping screams of Patrick Dupras. Guitarist Nick Clarke merges winding passages of atmospherically charged mid tempo notes with menacing soirees of jagged trem riffs and monolithic palm muted chords, while the bass lines wander stirringly and occasionally pop with a voracious thunder. Jazzy licks and off the wall tempo changes often come across as jarring or uninspired, yet the sporadically placed moments offer a loft reprieve from the blackened metal. The lengthy songs offer a twisted, nonlinear approach, rarely sticking with the same progression for long. Despite the sprawling songwriting the songs remain cohesive throughout.
In Human Form offers a hard hitting, challenging and, ultimately, highly rewarding take on progressive music that is unique, while remaining true to the sound New England black metal has become known for (thanks to the likes of Obsidian Tongue and Infera Bruo, among others). This is the type of album that should be experienced as a whole. Three of the six songs are well over fourteen minutes long and, when added to the complexity of the music, allows the music fully divulge itself over repeated listening sessions. It’s a bit difficult to sum the influences at play here, but it’d be safe to say that atmospheric black metal and free flowing prog are at the top of the list. Regardless, the album stands as a fine testament to the strength of the New England black metal scene and the amazing music that’s being pushed in that region lately.
As impressive as Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I actually is, I can only remain extremely excited for the band’s future. In Human Form recently added Dave Kaminsky to the fold, of Stone Healer (which is freaking awesome by the way) and formerly of Autolatry as another guitarist. This album proves that Nick Clarke certainly has chops, and a penchant for writing captivating epochs of heavy music, but the prospect of Kaminsky joining the fold has me salivating at the possibilities. This is one of those that slipped in under my radar at the end of 2016 and certainly one that would have graced a very high spot in my year end list.
Written for The Metal Observer .
Listen to the full interview here
Listen to the music here