Black metal-infused punk, or punk-infused black metal, is nothing new; however, the style has never sounded as fresh as it does coming from Boston’s Human Bodies. No Life, their third output overall, released back in August, surprises me in that it didn’t make it on at least the honorable mentions sections of some year end lists (at least that I’ve seen). Granted, I slept on this too, and unfortunately so, as Human Bodies pull off the crustiest, blackest music I’ve heard in a while. Preceded by Demo MMXIII and Scapegoat, No Life slithers through its six tracks, aided by production that doesn’t coat this purposeful murk with a blinding sheen. All the parties come into play like a cosmic terror summoned through a complex ritual, descending from inverted heaven with a siege of blastbeats, gutter-churning riffs and snarlingly angelic vocals.
At roughly ten minutes, No Life is unsurprisingly busy within the short span. Third track, “Scapegoat,” bounces along like a freshly severed head, punctuating its D-beat spinning with climactic, wintry bursts, the likes of which storms the following track, “Harlot.” The riffs pierce like a biting cold, accented by a wavering fury conjured by the smattering snare. The vocals shriek as if from an unfathomably dark place, clawing their way up on broken nails only to roar with overwhelming frustration as their grasp slips, especially on “Bellicose Throngs.” The sinister undertone of the bass is finally granted clarity on the ending track, “Exhibitionist,” a two-minute event that moves like a steady heart attack, escalating from floor-punching punk to teeth-gnashing cvlt by its end.
The only misgiving I could level at No Life is its underwhelming length; however, that is a personal concern that does not speak for the richness of the material contained therein. Endowed with production that doesn’t sap this style’s required grit and grime, Human Bodies succeed in rending your hearing from beginning to end with their pummeling, minute-long, drained-of-all-hope anthems. Available on cassette via Caligari Records.