Formed in 2015 in Ireland, Humanity Check’s mission was to “blend all the best elements of thrash, groove and melodic death metal into a singular sonic assault”. With their self-titled six-track EP, we get to find out if they’ve achieved this.
Opener “Nether” deceives with its gentle acoustic intro, a trick lifted from many classic thrash acts – Metallica, Annihilator, Sepultura… all have used this to good effect. Humanity Check let the clean notes ring out for 55 seconds before a quick chug of four palm-muted notes bring the electric sound in. Barely a minute later and Jordan McCormac’s death growls join his crunching guitars.
His fretwork is tempered and kept in step by the beats of Mike Sheahan’s drums and Alex McCormac’s (any relation?) bass strumming. This first track is an epic seven minutes long, but doesn’t bore the listener, going through several tempo changes as it drills its way into your head. “Nether” segues into track two “War Is Coming”, the song the band first sent me which made me decide to listen to the whole EP.
“War Is Coming” is a damn fine song. Great riffs, angry lyrics, definite groove… a track you can really swing your neck to, with some cracking solo work to boot. If anything, “Made To Suffer” is even better, or maybe it’s just that it’s heavier and I’m in the mood for that at the moment. Certainly, it has more of a death feel to it than the previous tracks with a brilliant chorus that I can imagine being screamed out loud by baying gig crowds.
“Once A Coward” doesn’t let the side down, kicking off with a chunky bass rhythm and containing probably the fastest flurry of fingerwork on the EP for the mid-track solo. “Homeword” brings thoughts of classic Nuclear Assault (and associated post-gig exhaustion) with its frenetic pace, and the collection is rounded off by the heavier tones of “Throne of Corpses”.
The only slight concern I have is that there seems to be a lot going on in some of the tracks and I know they used to be a four-piece with two guitars. As such, I wonder if anything will feel like it’s missing should I get to catch the band live. However, this is as much a compliment – and a desire to see the material being done justice – as anything else.
Humanity Check is a great release from a fairly young band and very much deserving of your attention if “fast and heavy” is your preferred musical style.