ALBUM REVIEW: Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde
The world may be in a poor state right now. Things feel more uncertain than ever and there are seemingly fewer and fewer things that we can cling on to with any semblance of normality. One such thing, however, is that great metal bands will continue to put out great music. Humanity’s Last Breath are one of those groups. The band have a stellar back catalogue of genre-bending extreme releases under their belt, including the critically acclaimed 2019 album Abyssal, and now in 2021 they are back to stake their claim as one of the most reliable metal acts in the business with Välde, a release that promises to be a culmination of everything they have been building to musically over the past decade.
The introduction to the album is a gloomy affair, complete with echoed leads, low-tuned chugging guitars and a clean, crisp drum sound. The production from the outset is squeaky-clean and allows everything to breathe in the way that it should, letting all the different textures and layers be shown in the way that they were intended.
From the very start Välde embraces bleak soundscapes and crushing heaviness in equal measure, with the pulverising blast beats and bludgeoning riffs in the opener paving the way for what is to come for the rest of the record. The following track, Glutton, is an apt title for a song that is literally bursting at the seams with sludgy guitar tones and guttural vocals that threaten to destroy everything in their path, delivering a breakdown in the middle which is so ludicrously heavy that it has the potential to decimate everything in its path.
Humanity’s Last Breath have made a point of making this album an experience and tie everything together with bleak atmospherics. This is no more apparent than in Earthless, where the band include more symphonic elements to make the song seem as cinematically huge as it is punishingly heavy. The intertwining vocals, coupled with a mixture of blast beats, glitchy effects and colossal guitars, make this song an exercise in brutality without ever straying into the territory of “heavy for heavy’s sake”, which is refreshing to say the least. The Descent continues in very much the same vein, with the band shifting between seismic breakdowns complete with orchestral moments and some of the best guitar shredding moments you are likely to hear this year. This is a track that will be played repeatedly throughout the coming months and will no doubt be a staple of many setlists for the guys going forward.
Hadean is a song that puts the seamless transitions that Humanity’s Last Breath have mastered on full display. From the swagger of the mid-tempo opening riff, through the chaotic blackened death metal blasting section and onto the melodeath anthem that then follows. This is a band that are full to the brim with confidence, really beginning to branch out and truly exploring their own creativity. The results more than speak for themselves.
That is just to name a few highlights of this superb album, but if you take a step back and look at the record as a whole piece of art then it really starts to take shape and look like something truly remarkable. Humanity’s Last Breath are a band that do not waste time pigeon-holing themselves. Instead, they genre hop as they please and tie it all together perfectly, to create a record that connects with every fanbase of every niche genre the multicultural metal world has to offer. Symphonic? Got that. Deathcore? In the mix. Blackened death metal? Of course.
What a band, and what an album. Välde may be an early release in 2021, but we have no doubt that it will be one of the ones that shows up in a lot of album of the year lists.
Standout Tracks: Earthless, The Descent, Hadean
For Fans Of: Shadow Of Intent, Aversions Crown, Lorna Shore
Written by: Richard Webb