Human Wick Effect - Unmastered Recordings - Independent 2005
Running Time: 72:10
When I first caught wind of Michigan's Human Wick Effect, their sound was pretty much Burnt By The Sun filtered through a sizable admiration for all things Hydrahead. Angular skronk, bile-gargling vocals, and time signatures that shifted more often than an eighteen wheeler stuttering through the mountains of Kentucky were the order of the day. While obviously technically proficient, the band remained in search of their own identity. The past two-odd years, however, have seen HWE move beyond the parameters of their early efforts, resulting in a sound that is fast becoming theirs alone.
The loping groove of "A Pilot's Nightmare" quickly dissolves into something like what would happen if you jacked Isis up on over-the-counter energy pills, and just as rapidly tumbles into an ethereal doom movement. Recurring themes are big here, but Human Wick Effect succeeds where many fail by giving the listener ample time to latch onto the bumper of this monster truck, then let the music drag them where it will. Call and response vocals in "As They Head West" hurl themselves atop a pattern reminiscent of neo-core legends Taken (R.I.P), and the bass-driven riffage of "Someone Else's Catharsis" takes the more-pissed-than-pissed attack of Iron Monkey, then mangles it into something purely HWE. Never ones to go for the quick one-two punch, Human Wick Effect knows well the pugilist's science of laying back, faking this way and that, only to fire off a few well-placed musical uppercuts before stepping back to give themselves room to breathe again. "I Hate White Rabbits" arc welds burled pummelcore to Fantomas-styled experimentation, clearing a path through "See-Sick", and into the planet-devouring maw of the fifteen-plus minutes of "A Gentleman And A Scholar". Owing as much to bands like Swarm Of The Lotus as to Meshuggah, Human Wick Effect is not so much about the end result, but in what it takes to drag you through, kicking and screaming if need be.
Call it overdone. Call it math metal. I don't think Human Wick Effect much cares. All they demand is an open mind, which (in today's musical climate) is becoming a rare commodity indeed.