The Human Race is Filth (THRIF) suggest in their name that they play a misanthropic brand of extreme metal. You don’t expect lollipops and balloons from a band that started in 2017 as a side project for two veterans of the Pennsylvania grind scene. If you want the ugliest and nastiest form of sludgy grindcore, you’re in the right place for the band’s third EP. Echo Chambers is the sound of murderous insanity from the people that let the man on the street do the talking for the blue-collar classes while they prepare their Molotov cocktails and poisons in clandestine hideouts. THRIF are on nobody’s radar when the carnage erupts.
In their early days, THRIF indulged a love of doom and d-beat punk, two things that are about as compatible as Ukrainian and Russian sailors sharing a commercial vessel. Here, they scale back these elements in favour of a dominant grindcore assault. The wretched guitar tone in opener, ‘Nations Pipe Bomb’, creates a rough death-grind hybrid with uncontrollable noise and muffled drum snares. It sounds live and in-your-face, like a fat and sweaty hostage-taker with a rifle and a grievance against the tax authorities. ‘Happiness from Stressful Dysfunction’ starts like the type of ferocious grindcore Napalm Death reprised in the mid-2000s. The American listeners will recognise a kinship with Weekend Nachos here, yet the blast beats and hysterical screams give way to a slower disembowelment of Obituary-esque proportions. It’s like a life-threatening exposure to mercury vapour, which is exactly the point.
You can’t discern the words among the hysterical screaming and agonising rage, but one can guess that ‘Justice for Profit’ takes aim at corporate America. But is it a swipe at the absurd political posturing of money-grubbing companies that claim to advance human rights as their main goal (Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Gillette, Google) or a dig at the state for sub-contracting the justice system to private-sector law enforcers? It might be neither, but the violent hardcore and death metal intensity suggest that all corporations with a sizeable lobbying budget should go to hell. You might be contemplating this when the surprise bass groove of ‘Mindless Thoughts’ enters your consciousness like a mood enhancement drug. Is it possible to “walk like an Egyptian” to the intro before the chunky riffing takes over?
At nine minutes in length, Echo Chambers is about right for a six-track grindcore EP. The band don’t waste a note on the one minute and thirty-six seconds of ‘Abuse of American Hands’. It’s savage, it slams down on your head like a mallet, and it delivers an exhilarating breakdown riff at the end like Terror in their prime. Closing track, ‘Shit States USA’, ends before you can get your arms circling in the violent windmill motion. There’s no shame if you peer over your shoulder to check if anybody saw you lose your shit after the stop button brought things to a halt.
The band state that their aim is to produce their debut full-length album by the end of the year. An extended twenty-five minutes of this filth is just what you need in your life before 2022 enters the history books as another crisis event.
Release Date: 22/07/2022
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Happiness from a Stressful Dysfunction, Abuse of American Hands
Suggested Further Listening: Weekend Nachos – Worthless (2011), Praetorian – A Deluge of Bad Faith EP (2022), Insect Warfare – World Extermination (2007)