This band from Massachusetts doesn’t conform to stereotypes. An avantgarde front stands with extreme metal and an avowed love of prog-jazz fusion.
We don’t lurch from one passage to another as it’s smoother than that, but you have to have your wits about you when you’re listening to this. “Apocrypha Carrion” takes us …. well, everywhere. I hear the melodic metal strains of early Omnium Gatherum, black metal fury and the epicness of Opeth. In fact a lot of epicness. The patterns are complex. The vocals are harsh. It’s like a bunch of people recording different genres in different studios and seeing how it all works out. Eleven minutes in, the saxophone enters the frame, superseding the colourful guitar solo. Then it all goes haywire again. The jazzy discoloration is that of Ephel Duath. If that’s not your bag, a bit of doom enters the fray before a chunking guitar piece starts to build up tension and then heads off on its dumbfounding and obscure merry way. Goodness knows what that was all about.
“Weeping Stones” is the shortest track at just over seven and a half minutes. Symphony surrounds the spoken word. After the longish introduction, a mellow melody takes over. Then a saxophone piece enhances the melancholy before a lush guitar solo cuts in. This is the shoegaze end of In Human Form. No black metal here, just musical reflections on sad landscapes. They wept. This is highly charged mood music quite unlike “Apocrypha Carrion” before it. You can’t call it an interlude as it’s too long but it is dwarfed by the third ad final piece, the 21 minute “Canonical Detritus”. The build up has an air of Opeth about it. The piercing shrieks of the vocalist break the moment. The clouds darken and the style turns to black metal. The drumming speeds up, and accompanies a short but exhilarating pattern. Off we twist. It’s like throwing a dice and seeing where we go next. Again, the answer is everywhere. Sophisticated patterns abound. It sort of hangs together but it’s warped and only fluid in a short term sense, as quieter interludes led to spoken passages, which frankly were lost on me as I tried to keep up, black metal and lush melodic metal. That spooky Ephel Duath rhythm returned. And then several iterations later, the sound explodes into a sea of epic majesty but rather than leaving it at that, there’s room for one final saxophone fused passage depicting a grey and lonely world.
I commend In Human Form for their sense of adventure. I found “III” interesting and indeed as advertised but I didn’t know where I stood with it. “III” is too sophisticated musically to be there simply for the purpose of disturbing me, and I wasn’t, but ultimately I found this more of an exercise of self-indulgent obscurity than a digestible meal.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)