Signs of Human Race – Inner Struggle of Self-Acceptance (Sliptrick Records)

Wednesday, 13th March 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

One of the best aspects of seeking out new music is the exposure to that diamond in the rough that you otherwise may not hear. For instance, progressive /avant-garde metal is not necessarily the widest birth going today but should garner some interest for Italian act Signs of Human Race because of the diverse twisting and turning of influences. Their debut album Inner Struggle of Self-Acceptance only contains five songs – and yet there’s so much information and dynamic layers to expose that fans of progressive metal with death, gothic, and ambient/atmospheric influences will all find something to submerge themselves and come out discovering a new love for the genre.

Each song deals with human psychology and feelings of varied topics: from lucid dreaming on “Dreaming Reality” to personality disorders for “Journey into Self-Reflection” as well as an introspective look at one man’s depression and the loss of trust and desperation that develops in the closing track “Choking in Hopeless Agony” just to name a few. Because of this, these musicians can also inject a varied feel often within the same arrangement – building the ebb and flow between tranquil passages and thunderous rhythmic/progressive interplay parts, evident during the shorter highlight “Above the Languages of Life” where you can hear Tool and Opeth influences colliding into Pain of Salvation. Robotic, flat-line repetition voices can be an added treat to intensify the hypnotic qualities of a song – the guitar work shimmering with a mix of bluesy/psychedelic darkness against the electric crunch and fluid runs. Vocalist Remek James Robertson possesses that chameleon-esque charm that can switch on a dime from quieter, mysterious melodies for the opening of “Journey into Self-Reflection” into a demonic scream that extreme audiences savor, although the semi-growls and guitar sequels give this song a jagged, herky-jerky feel when the calmer, clean passages and intoxicating, reflective guitars propel the listener into a deeper, thinking mold.

Considering the average song-length tips the eight-minute and change mark, Signs of Human Race are not for the three-chord, radio-oriented market. When the band choose to get heavier and explosive, the intertwining of Gojira-ish jackhammer power and Dream Theater/Pink Floyd progressive art could be overwhelming to some, but brilliant and stunning for others. Between the sparse use of bluesy leads plus the combinations of time signature manipulation and push forward/ pull back instrumental shifts, Inner Struggle of Self-Acceptance can provide endless hours of dissection and consumption – the ultimate compliment for a progressive band.

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