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Human Ground
Human Ground

The granite like cover on this promo gives nothing away, and when opening the promo package looking at the band photo I was starting to dread what I was going to hear. Granted I enjoy a few bands that have female vocalists, but I'm not a huge fan of bands that have female lead vocalists per say. I'm thinking along the lines of Nightwish and their clones rather than Death/Goth metal bands that use female vocals to enhance the listening experience. Irrational, sure, but I know what I like. And when you consider that a lead solo overwhelms the first 30 seconds of “Read Between The Bones”, I was expecting this to be poncy power metal with female vocals... But there was a short gruff intake of breathe at
the end of that solo, and the extremely fast double bass was accompanied by a rather chunky guitar sound. The first words out of Pille's mouth kinda took me aback! This was actually fucking heavy stuff and the girl could really growl. Now with the tone set for this to be a good death metal album I allowed myself to listen to it without any trepidation.
Valm and Sven play some really heavy riffs, full of interesting leads and trade-offs. "Waiting" has a steady backbeat grounded firmly in thrash roots where Atso pounds his snare with much gusto. The blast salvo that opens "Down To The Roots" quickly subdues itself to an slight less insane tempo, albeit only briefly for the leads, and then it shoots back to catchy rhythms. Taking things slightly quieter in the "Evening" isn't something these guys appear to do, but we get to hear the first clean vocals on this album now, and they happen to be male and hold their tone and notes extremely well. An atmospheric ambience is used on "Wrath Of Ages" and while short-lived, it adds energy to the more frantic pieces, also allowing us to appreciate Raivo's bass work, as it's more prominent and not subdued by the guitars. Bouncing the clean and death vocals on "The Black Rainbow" works remarkably well, especially when they are in a harmony, of sorts. While far from a battle cry, "Wars Won't" is still a heady aural assault and full of melodic leads. Continuing in the vein of plenty of leads "Carrier Of The Remains" is freebasing in them and continues with the duel clean male and death female vocals. We are all extremely aware of what the answer to the question "Can A Prophet Be Wrong" is, but that's inconsequential as is the lack of hostility on the male vocals, because the female vocals take care of everything in that department. "Human Ground" is a haunting instrumental with plenty of sustains, guitar squeals, bass and drum rhythms and the usual amount of leads thrown in for good measure. My current attitude to many around me right now is rather well covered in "Giving A Finger" and I don't think anyone shall need any elaboration there. The finale is a complete change of direction where we have acoustic guitar and clean female, and male, vocals on the aptly titled "Love Song", but don't take it as the usual soppy crap, even though it sounds like it, cos it's definitely got a wicked twist to the lyrics. For my first foray into Estonian metal, I think that Human Ground was an awesome starting point and let's hope that I'm not let down by any further excursions into that territory.

Author: Marco Gaminara
Zine: Live 4 Metal

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User comments for this release:

FlexOink  14.09.2005 23:38
Dude get your facts straight, the sexy bass player is actually the vocalist....

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