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'Prodromes Of A Flatline'
(Bakerteam Records)

jools green

Jools Green


Having reviewed their 2012, EP 'Odd Ethics', I was pretty excited to find that Italy's extreme death Metal outfit Humangled are back with their latest full length, 'Prodromes Of A Flatline', and it's a crushing slab of brutality from the band born from the ashes of cyber-grind duo Putrid Sequence.

It's only their second full length, following their 2010 debut 'Fractal' which preceded the aforementioned 2012 EP and it's nothing short of impressive that they have achieved this level of face ripping brutality. There are a couple of line-up changes for this release, the core of Luke Scurb on guitars and the brutal pipes of Andrew Goreds are joined again by Fred Valdaster on drums, this time also with Matt Prandex on bass and Jean Edifizi also on guitars and it is a lethal combination.

This latest album is nine tracks deeply rooted in old school death Metal with bands like Death, Carcass and Cannibal Corpse among their biggest influences but manifesting as their own unique, brutal and uncompromising death Metal style, beginning with 'Liberté, Égalité, Brutalité'.

But don't let the symphonic opener lull you into a false sense of ambient restfulness because after that first minute, its brutality all the way with hypnotic repeat riffs alongside pummelling drums and Andrew Goreds' brutal vocals which range between a deep growl and a higher more vitriolic gargle, along with the tempo and direction switching around madly yet fluidly, making this an intense and fascinating opening track.

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The album continues with '4:03' and here the chugging opening groove expands into riffing that switches from rapid ones, to ones that seem to spiral. There are also superb tempo drops where a sinister groove adds an element of melody, making the whole thing cleverly complex and stunningly effective.

There is superb vocal intonation on 'Men Of Straw' and Andrew puts a terror instilling edge to the dramatically drawn out line "This is a man of straw, we got to kill them all!" The later part pace drops down significantly from the mid pace of the first half which seems to build and become more frantic and insistent to a slower one, which is overlaid with superb spiralling riff patterns, an engaging track right to the very end.

On 'Foretasted In Flesh' there are plummeting breakdowns and bendy riffs that almost warp space and time on this utterly stunning composition, again packed with surprises with every direction change. There also seems to be a subtle, rather nice bass emphasis here also.


There is almost a classic feel to the opening and general construct of 'Intimacy Curse' with a very classic sounding repeat but of course there is the "Humangled" brutally warped slant added into this mix also.

'Untastable Fear' has an intriguing mix of the technical, the classic and the skilfully discordant and off kilter across its entirety while 'Fragments' is sinisterly discordant, with hauntingly hypnotic repeats and a high level of intensity, all capped off by vocals delivered in a very punchy manner that almost take on the form of a two way dialog in the way that the deeper growls are used alongside the higher vocals.

'Cauterized' has a pulsating grove and brutal growls from the offset, fluid direction changes and varied riff patterns throughout the entirety of the track and just before midway a discordant solo breaks it up further and adds even more interest.

With a title like 'Vegan Realm' I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but make no mistake, despite the title; this is a chunky, meaty offering.

'To Mega Therion' (Therion cover) is a surreal listen and after the previous nine brutal tracks I was left with my jaw dropped to the floor in shock, nothing could have prepared me for this, but it's great, it stays true to the original version, however I do like this better because it's much more vocally brutal which gives a greater contrast against the operatic vocals.

The final touch to this excellent release has to be involving the legendary Dan Swanö as producer (Opeth, Katatonia, Therion, Novembre). I don't know who is responsible for the artwork but its excellent, drawing your eye in well and giving a good visual description of just what to expect from this release.

'Prodromes Of A Flatline' is a superb offering. It's great to hear extreme Metal that is this catchy and unique as well as addictively experimental and excitingly boundary pushing.

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