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Once Human – Scar Weaver Award winner

Once Human
Scar Weaver
by Thomas Kumke at 21 November 2021, 8:15 PM

ONCE HUMAN hailing from Los Angeles, California were formed by ex-MACHINE HEAD and SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader and Australian vocalist Lauren Hart in 2014. They play a mix of extreme Metal with modern Metal, Groove Metal, and progressive Death Metal elements. After releasing two studio albums and a live album, “Scar Weaver” is their third full-length album and their first one since 2017. It has a playing time of more than 37 minutes. The album will be released via German label earMUSIC which has a variety of Metal, Rock, and Pop bands among their roster.

Having followed ONCE HUMAN for a number of years, I have never been sure what type of Metal they actually stand for. As a matter of fact, their sound is inspired by a number of genres, but listening to “Scar Weaver”, there seems to be a trend more towards progressive elements. Gone are the early Metalcore elements from earlier albums, but melodic elements are still there with some grooves as well. Some of the songs, and the opening “Eidolon” is one of them, instantly remind me on JINJER at least in terms of the sound. “Eidolon” belongs to the progressive Death fraction of the album, with a lot of guitar riffing, twisted rhythms and distorted structures. The crunching bass lines dominate the sound framework, and there is a lot of double-bass drumming as well. The vocals are omnipresent throughout, and while Lauren Hart is predominantly growling, there are a few clean parts as well. Her guttural range is pretty diverse, which is an extra bonus for the track.

Deadlock” belongs to the more melodic and groovier side of ONCE HUMAN, the main riff is catchy and drives the song forward. MACHINE HEAD mastermind Robb Flynn has the vocal co-duties and provides something extra to the track. The title track of the album is slightly slower than most of the mid-tempo songs on the album. It is somehow sluggish, but fits to the grim sound of “Scar Weaver”. It is again more Death Metal, similarly as “Eidolon” and as “Bottom Feeder”, which starts with hammering double-bass drums transitioning into a short melodic part with clean vocals. The guitar riffing is monotone and the lead guitars provide a chilling atmosphere. The structure of the track is frequently interrupted by the machine gun like double-bass drum assaults.

The bludgeoning continues with “Where The Bones Lie” at slightly higher pace and a relatively simple structure. The guitars provide some melodic backbone especially during the middle part of the track and the song finishes with a rare occurrence of the lead guitars. “Erasure” starts, once again, with a somehow sluggish rhythm, powerful guitar riffing, and dark melodies provided by the lead guitars. It quickly transitions towards mid-tempo and there are a number of subtle rhythm changes throughout the track. The vocals are melodic and catchy for at least the chorus part and there is a shift towards clean vocals at the end of the song. “Deserted” is one of those songs with more progressive vibes. Lauren Hart switches nicely between her brutal growls and the clean vocals during the chorus, giving the track some extra depth.

We Ride” is almost like a pummeling interlude. It is the shortest and fastest track and it comes with one of the rare lead guitar solos. Did the double-bass drumming fireworks stop for a moment during the song? I am not sure. “Cold Arrival” continues with that where “Deserted” left. There is again a good switch between growling and clean vocals and Lauren Hart uses her full vocal range. “Cold Arrival” includes melancholic melodies and the clean vocals intensify the melancholy and doomy atmosphere. The album closes out with “Only In Death” which maintains the darkness of the preceding track. “Only In Death” is one of the video releases for the album and the YouTube link is given below.

ONCE HUMAN will release their best album so far. They have progressed in every department. “Scar Weaver” has all the attributes of an excellent Metal album: aggression, rawness, cool guitar riffing, comprehensive lead guitar contributions, technically superb drumming, and the overarching growling and clean vocals of Lauren Hart who perfectly fits into every sound on the album. “Scar Weaver” is an intelligent mix of different extreme Metal styles and the songwriting has vastly improved and is very mature. The album is very well produced. ONCE HUMAN will lay down a marker in 2022 and set the bar very high with “Scar Weaver”.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Eidolon
2. Deadlock (ft. Robb Flynn)
3. Scar Weaver
4. Bottom Feeder
5. Where The Bones Lie
6. Erasure
7. Deserted
8. We Ride
9. Cold Arrival
10. Only In Death
Lauren Hart – Vocals
Logan Mader – Guitars
Max Karon ­ Guitars
Dillon Trollope – Drums
Damien Rainaud – Bass
Record Label: earMUSIC


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