ONCE HUMAN – Evolution
Ex-Machine Head/ Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader has spent more of his recent time behind the boards in a producing/mixing realm, but hasn’t stopped writing and recording in his own bands – which includes this current act Once Human. "Evolution" is the follow up record to their 2015 "The Life I Remember" debut – giving the listeners nine more tracks of modern metal that straddles his musical past with the present aggression necessary to keep up with the younger generation.
Vocalist Lauren Hart strides valiantly into the music, her delivery brutal in line with Arch Enemy or other melodic death contemporaries – which enhances the engaging riffs and melodic tinges that Logan and fellow guitarists Max Karon and Skyler Howren develop. Check out the dark trilling against the jackhammer rhythms for opener "Flock of Flesh" and the low-tuned, Machine Head-like churn within "Dark Matter" to know Once Human mean business. These musicians diversify their style by incorporating occasional electronic or doom nuances, most evident on "Eye of Chaos" which has a bit of that Fear Factory stomp amidst the soul sucking action from Lauren’s larynx. The jarring modern bouncy bass parts provide additional intensity, setting the stage for the next windmill-oriented passage blasting from your speakers.
Challenging parameters in the triple axe lineup allows Once Human exploration when they want to get a tad more adventurous – as many of the thrash riffs and progressive twists for "Mass Murder Frenzy" turn the arrangement upside down and inside out. Overall, there’s a sense of balance between heaviness and melody, even as the vocals are extreme – making "Paragon" one of the important second half tracks because of the lower octane action and sprinkling of slower, melodic guitar movements. Djent-elements come to the forefront on "Drain", one of the rare times where clean vocals make an appearance against the conventional militant growls and screams.
"Evolution" puts Once Human on high alert for band to watch status- especially if you enjoy a cross-section of modern melodic death and groove/thrash metal.