Human Ashtray

If you are sending Teeth of the Divine (that’s us) self-released demos and/or other releases, a couple of things will get you noticed and probably reviewed. First, it helps if you are good. A recent example of this being the six track demo from Poland’s Hyperial. Or, number two, you have some sort of intriguing packaging or a gimmick (i.e the At Dusk/Idolator split that included some dried blood). In the case of Spain’s terribly named Human Ashtray, it’s the latter.

The band’s second effort is a 7-song, 26-minute effort (either a long EP or short LP) named Pripyat (or Prypiat — an abandoned town near Chernobyl) and it comes in a slick DVD-styled case that looks like a movie cover/case. Not only that, contained in the case is a nifty professionally done,  full color, glossy Walking Dead comic-styled inlay that is the theme of the seven songs. The artwork is pretty good and gory, and the whole thing comes across like a graphic novel.

If only they had put as much effort into the music.

Basically Human Ashtray play a form of cliched, if not tight and energetic American styled deathcore/death metal, akin to early The Black Dahlia Murder and countless others I wont either bother listing. It’s certainly not terrible, despite the airy, strange production. Pripyat is full of slicing At The Gates riffs, some tightly wound breakdowns and the now all too common dual cream/growled Trever Strnad styled vocals.  At 26 minutes it’s pretty short, but I’ll give the band credit. The band’s full of energy, the material conveys that energy with a pretty relentless pace and they certainly ape their peers pretty well. And other than the strange opening title track, which has a weird programmed djent-y delivery, the stuff is OK and I’ve heard far worse than the likes of “Axis of Evil” or “Eternal Twilight”. It’s just not doing anything new or certainly anything as ambitious as the packaging.

You could do worse than pick this up for the comic and packaging alone and get some solid Deathcore thrown in as a bonus. Until the band make a few more strides musically, however, I don’t see anyone grabbing this release for the music alone.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 26th, 2012


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