Human Larvae – Womb Worship CD L.White Records 2013
Human Larvae is one of the newer guard of German projects, being the solo project of Berlin native Daniel Burfoot. Choosing to operate at the edges of death industrial, power electronics and experimental noise, Human Larvae align comfortably with similar acts who function within the grey spaces between various abrasive underground ‘industrial’ related genres. Noting the solid debut album ‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’ was issued in 2008, Daniel issued a 2011 tape as part of the refining of his sound to a razor-sharp point for this sophomore album.
‘Perdition from the Virgins Mouth’ opens the album in stunning fashion, where a gloomy, catatonically played piano note ring out against scratching junk metal tones, low bass thuds and agonisingly yelled/ distorted treated vocals. ‘The Truth I Failed To See’ follows, yet operates in far more subdued territory, containing looped breathing sounds, understated wavering synth tones, distant conveyor belt rhythms and thematic dialogue sample. ‘Slave To Violence’ steps up the tone in a more classic power electronics vein, relying on a bass loaded undercurrent, overblown metallic junk metal distortion and prominent screeched vocals, which in many ways reminds of the aggressive yet densely detailed sonic approach of recent Grunt material. In more direct terms – excellent. By pulling back on the throttle ‘Entwined In The Umbilical Noose’ delivers a lengthy track with a cavernous wind tunnel aesthetic. Across its span the piece shifts through various segments involving: a lone organ dirge; grating tonal textures; wheezing noise and droning three note melody. Located towards the centre of the album, ‘Methods of Possession’ brings to mind the focused intensity of IRM, which is used as a positive comparison to highlight the quality found here. This particular track works on multiple levels by merging chaotic micro-tonal sonic detailing with organic sounding drones, over which the layered, distortion saturated vocals are delivered with desperate intensity.
Given that the use of abuse related dialogue samples is by now considered ‘de rigueur’ for this type of material, this can lead to the listener being somewhat desensitised to the intended impact. This is clearly not the case on ‘Wrapped In The Warm Sheets Of Mother Love’, being a track of driven distortion and burrowing noise, over which a sample referencing sexual abuse perpetrated by a mother (as recounted by the son) creates a strong and nauseating impact. This nauseous tone remains on ‘Obsession Intermezzo II’ (despite containing a totally different sound to the preceding track), here featuring minutely amplified ‘wet’ textural sounds, low bass drone and menacing synth melody. The title track arrives as the concluding album composition, which expertly balances an atmosphere which is equally heavy as it is ominous. Here vaguely rhythmic drones, grinding textures, scattered junk metal noise and heavy echo distortion treated vocals are the order of the day, and whilst not necessarily covering new sonic territory for this style, Human Larvae nevertheless nails the sound perfectly.
Whilst ‘Womb Worship’ is not a long album at 43 minutes, not a single minute of its play time is wasted on any second-rate filler. The mastering provided by James Plotkin is solid, hefty and suitably loud, yet also contains depth and tonal separation to allow the quieter tracks to breath with ample sonic space. With its tonal diversity and threateningly weighty atmosphere (even in its quieter moment), Human Larvae have succeeded in delivering a diverse and distinctive sound. By displaying an equal balance of aggression and restraint, ‘Womb Worship’ is delivered with an absolutely convincing degree of focus and control. This album has already garnered extensive rotations around these quarters and is exactly the type of album to warrant many more repeat rotations in future.