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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: Except One - Haunted Humanity

The new EP by Except One, Haunted Humanity, drifts somewhere in between metalcore melodies, hardcore breakdowns and tempo’s and sometimes djent-y riffs. It is an interesting mix, with a few flaws; all the genres are well-established and sometimes looked down upon by metalsnobs of the internet, so it is hard to fuse these styles and still bring something to the table that is solid and inspiring. Except One succeeds, at times, very convincingly.

The track “Lost” hammers home what Except One is all about, pummeling right through with a double-bass drumbeat and a searing riff. Firstly notable is the slick production for a band that has just started on his second EP with no real albums yet under their belt. The guitars are slightly dark for the snappy riffs and so not every riff springs out as it would, but in the lows the strings section are a delight. Especially “Revenge”, a very short song clocking in at just shy of three minutes, is a good example of this. The very present bass sound makes the whole crew’s sound growl like a beast and makes the hardcore breakdowns - if that’s your thing - a delight to listen. The rhythms in these are rather straightforward and have little prog influences, which is maybe a delight but a bit too simple for my taste. The talent of the guitarists is undeniable; though the songs lack a real solo the two guitarists have a lot of harmonic plays intertwining that are great to listen to and don’t really become stale or boring for the most part.

A bit of a letdown is “7even”, the finisher of the track. It appears Except One is trying to be a bit more emotional and melodic than on the other tracks, but despite it being close to four minutes it has a very repetitive melody that isn’t really interesting enough to keep attention through the song. It sounds a bit overdone, almost like a desperate radiosingle that this EP actually doesn’t really need.

In terms of vocals, as presented noticeably on “Elm Street” the grunts and screams are definitely better than the clean singing. This might be in the mix but the clean vocals sound thin and too soft in comparison with the growls that remind me of Caliban’s Andreas Dörner. Those make up a lot for it, and there is little clean singing at all, but it never, sadly, adds anything to the songs.

Overall this EP is a solid effort of Except One that, though not breaking new ground, is pretty enjoyable to listen to and doesn’t give you a moment of rest from beginning to end. The energy is what drives this EP and therefore keeps it standing and interesting.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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