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In Human Form - III

In Human Form
by Cherie Wong at 26 November 2019, 5:58 AM

On December 13, 2019, the progressive black metal band IN HUMAN FORM will release their third full-length album “III.” This comes three years after their sophomore release “Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I,” which received favorable reviews. They also contributed to the split “Northeastern Hymns” with the bands AUTOLATRY, INFERA BRUO, and OBSIDIAN TONGUE. IN HUMAN FORM formed in 2006 and hails from New England. Their sound is best described as progressive black metal, with heavy jazz and classical influence. This album also features guest musician Evan Crandell on alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone and guest vocalist Hannah Pitkin.

The first track is “Apocrypha Carrion.” There is no doubt this is black metal with the blistering riff and tortured vocals that immediately start off the album. There is also no doubt this is progressive metal because within a few minutes, the song transitions from black metal to a melodic guitar solo and back again. Transitions and unique rhythms aside, there is also the use of a saxophone. The first notable appearance is towards the end of the first track. The addition of the saxophone was handled well as the upbeat melody of the saxophone followed a melodic upbeat guitar solo.

Next, we get a breather with the shortest track - at 8 minutes long - “Weeping Stones.” The mournful atmosphere at the beginning features a Mellotron overlaid with a spoken word passage. The melancholy continues throughout the track, accented by soulful guitar and saxophone solos. Before it becomes too tedious, the layers build and crescendo to a close. Last, but certainly not least, is the 20 minute long opus “Canonical Detritus.” In the first few minutes, the band plays a mix of ferocious black metal and more straightaway melodic death metal. After the first third of the track, there is a section where the band shows their ability to compose a complex piece, with sinister growling and mad yelling from the vocalist, jarring guitar riffs, odd time signatures, and discordant saxophone notes. Following a spoken passage in the middle of the track, the alternating expressive guitar riffs and blistering black metal riffs continue. The continual switching of directions keeps the lengthy track from becoming boring. At the end, a beautiful guitar solo leads into an intense riff and closes out the album with added fanfare from the sax.

Overall, I recommend this album, especially to fans of progressive music of the extreme variety. It is readily apparent that the band members of IN HUMAN FORM are talented musicians with an ear for musical composition. Expect standard black metal passages interspersed with skillful guitar riffs and drumming and surprising bursts of saxophone.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Apocrypha Carrion
2. Weeping Stones
3. Canonical Detritus
Nicholas Clark – Guitar, Alto Sax, Keyboard
Rich Dixon – Drums
Patrick Dupras – Vocals
Shalin Shah – Bass Guitar
Dave Kaminsky – Guitar
Record Label: I, Voidhanger


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