Human Cull are one of the most ferocious extreme metal bands in England’s south-west arc running from Devon to Bristol. Like most grindcore bands, they fill their discography with as many EPs and splits as full-length albums and used to perform under a crass moniker. In their case, two of the three members were in Gran Toucher before they changed their name to Human Cull in 2011. They might be little known outside the English grindcore scene, but this band are heavier than the mudflow that killed 270 people at the Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil in 2019.
Of course, all eyes are on Wormrot’s comeback album this month, but Human Cull should be your next record once you’ve digested the insane sonics of the Singaporean legends’ latest offering. At twenty-two minutes in length and containing twenty songs, you’re right to wonder if you have time to blink through most of the cuts here. The opening title track starts with an ominous bass rumble that sounds like the stomach of a grisly bear wandering into a human campsite. For a moment, they threaten to gear into ‘Master of Puppets’ but then unleash an outer body experience of pent-up rage with all instruments operating at the speed of light. Yes, it’s fast, but it’s the velocity of a jet-powered racer car smashing through the world land speed record with miles of desert ahead and a trail of dust cloud in its wake. Edd Robinson’s chord choices are as unorthodox as the noise blasting from his amps. Listen to Luke Archer’s bass on every one of these tracks. Have you heard anything as violent and as dangerous to the thick steel strings of this most under-appreciated of instruments? ‘Subject to Predation’ is like Conjurer playing grindcore but with a Terrorizer core and a death metal menace. ‘Axe of Flint’ operates on a slower grind of murderous chug riffs before the blast beats take over.
How might one convey the murderous aggression of this album? Imagine the inhumane anger of the scumbag person who shakes a baby to death in a fit of rage. (NB: This would be as easy to do to your gran.) ‘Familicide (2022)’ is a reworking of their song from 2014’s The Persecuting Society EP and is just as frantic as you’d expect. Dissonant guitars and rapid drums compete against each other like formula one vehicles approaching a sharp bend. One of them might crash and burn. The guitar tone on ‘Perfect Hatred’ threatens to blow your speaker with the same absurd outcome as those childhood days when you thought a Thundercat might fall out of your television if you knocked it onto the floor. Of course, it won’t happen, but the fear that it might do makes it so enlivening. German sludge-grind bruisers, Zeit, are a good comparison for the bass-heavy filth of ‘Confession Archive’ and ‘Habeas Corpus’, where the blast beats imitate the eruption of a long-dormant volcano. The attempt at a guitar solo in ‘Siegelord’ will make you chuckle. Not even Kerry King could shred through the carnage here.
To Weep for Unconquered Worlds is easily one of the most extreme albums released so far this year, but it has hidden charms as well. Check out the Napalm Death/Celtic Frost hybrid of ‘Litanies of the Forsaken’ and the iconic Death/Chuck Schuldiner riffing of closing track, ‘Old Night’, for evidence of the band’s variation of styles. The death metal undercurrent is perhaps the most intriguing element of Human Cull. Yes, they play an extreme form of punk and have no time for heroic guitar melodies or plastic double-kick drums, but they belong on the same bill as Brutal Truth and Nasum. You can’t imagine anything uglier or more unsentimental as a commentary on life, but who listens to gindcore for its serenity and calming influence?
This album will destroy you.
Release Date: 01/01/2022 (Digital); 15/07/2022 (Vinyl)
Standout tracks: To Weep for Unconquered Worlds; Subject to Predation; Axe of Flint; Habeas Corpus; Old Night
Suggested Further Listening: Skullshitter – Goat Claw (2022), Zeit – Betonkrebs (2021), Bone Tower – We All Will Die One Day EP (2022)