Formed in 2009, Southampton’s Hummune, a conglomerate force made up of former members of the bands Older Than Dirt, Kill-Joy, Dissentient Revolt and Parade Of Enemies, have just released their debut long-player, Crafted In Darkness, and it sounds like it could be a bit of a beast.

They, personally, cite Unsane as an influence and that most definitely comes across in the grumbling backline and unhinged, roaring vocal, but considering the degree of vocal intensity in the combined howling of Stu Woodward and bassist Mike Barrow and just how deliberate the punches are, the band could also, just as easily, be citing influences such as the powerful, depth-plunging mania of High On Fire or the pounding assault that Kylesa dish out.

Being a debut album, understandably the recording cuts up a little rough around the edges. One thing that does stick out from the end result, and I’m sure this was intentional, is Rik Godfrey’s resonant snare strikes and cymbal hits which sound, at times, vague, distant and freakishly hollow. Whilst you wouldn’t think this ideal next to the ascerbic guitar thrum and scowling vocal, it does engender the package with a curiously tribal feel. This could be a little bit special, this.

“Moth” opens up with a brutish, jinking hook to latch onto as Hummune immediately sink their teeth in deep. Not overly complex, it’s a perfect set-up for the journey through the murkier waters of “Into Dust” and the scrabbling, experimentation that breaks “Claw” into mere spoken word and echoing string strikes. Naturally, the pace-change back into neck-busting chug that “Rise” and the heavy-lidded “Driven To Husk” bring, followed by the call-and-response fist-thrower “Bullets”, forms the triple-play spinal column around which this whole demon has been built.

From here, the album falls away a little with those tribal drums steaming to the fore to sweep all of the plaudits alone. Woodward’s Lemmy-esque growl comes to the fore for “Puzzle” and the power of “Crush My Heart” mires the music deep into sludge metal territory, the guitar grasping fistfuls of grunge to pull at the same oppressive edge that the dirtier end of Bleach-era Nirvana dished out. As the finale rolls around with the 8-minute “Era”, the dancing drums reach an Ozric Tentacles-esque intensity and the lysergic tribalism reaches its zenith.

Emerging from the grip of Crafted In Darkness with a slurp, you’ll half expect to have pulled some of it’s hideous slime along with you. This thing is smeared with evil; it leers at you; reaches out to grasp your leg as you pass; lose focus and it’ll drag you into its dank pit. It’s the hideous troll of your nightmares. Its vile imperfections merely make it stronger, uglier, more dangerous. And, best of all, you just know Hummune, its creator, have harder, sharper, deadlier creatures just dying to be released.

(7.5/10 John Skibeat)