I’m writing this from Malaysia, Humiliation’s country of origin. It’s always interested me why particular genres take hold in different countries, but there’s no doubt that death metal appeals to Malaysian devoted band of extreme metal followers. There are many fine metal bands here. As for the reason, I guess historical exposure is one thing – I hear people waxing lyrical about old school bands – and environment normally is another. It’s also about passion. I’ve never met or spoken to Humiliation, nor have I actually managed to see them live, but their track record speaks for itself. “Parallel Chains of Command” is their 10th full album, to go with umpteen split releases and a couple of eps. The last two I heard were “Turbulence from the Deep” (2013) and ‘Strength to Strength” (2012). So, like a library book or an unpaid bill, I’m overdue. Time to put my tin hat on.
Warfare is, as I recall, very much the theme of this band, so there’s no surprise that the opener is “Dawn of Warfare”. What did surprise me was that it’s not all out attack, but instead the tones are grainy, dark and sinister. It’s old school and as ever uncompromising. There’s a “nice” bit of acceleration mid-stream. Great start, well layered and we’re in the dirty rancid stuff already. The vocalist’s sore throat and the pungent dirty riffs are again in evidence on “Seek to Survive”. Whether it’s the sound or the added layers of interest, this is more dynamic than I remember Humiliation and I’ve always considered them a good band. Humiliation do recognise Benediction as an influence, and I can see that along with strong tinges of Memoriam, Massacre and Grave. This is old school alright, and “From Strength to Strength” accordingly continues the process of driving us into the ground. Slowing it down is punishment of the best possible kind. This allows us to be sucked in before being spat out in the relative frenzy of the final section. Now hang on … isn’t “Turbulence from the Deep” the title of a previous album, likewise “Strength to Strength”? There’s no law against repeating previous album titles. “Turbulence from the Deep” is no surprise – mid paced death metal expressing withering contempt. “Battalion” is more belligerent. This is what I personally like. The pace tones down, and the track meanders through difference sequences representing pain and suffering. The dangerous “Under The Siege of Invasion” is then like a driving force. On we pound, weightily of course, with “Honourable Discharge” but again with breaks, twists and changes of tempo to keep it interesting. The song rises in a rare epic passage but the heart of this is the deep drudgery of pure death metal. After further bludgeoning in the form of “No Escape, “Regiment” – note the military titles of these odes to war – starts on a familiar path. Walls shake as power runs through the carnage. The vocalist rasps grimly. The pattern is familiar. The title track concludes the album and demonstrates what Humiliation are good at: uncompromising heaviness, great control and a mixture of vibrant and grim warmongering.
There’s nothing new here, nor is there intended to be. “Parallel Chains of Command” is authentic to its intent. This album is like a grinding down process. It’s old school and true to the death metal genre. By changing tempos and adding layers to this grim fare, Humiliation supplement the heavy warmongering by creating interesting and even exciting structures.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)