ALMØST HUMAN – XS2XTC
The Swiss act named Almøst Human is an interesting one in that it mixes and blends progressive metal with something akin to alternative rock and the result is both musically satisfying and surprisingly cohesive on a structural level. I love the way in which totally different parts with atmospheres that are in stark contrast to each other are woven together so seamlessly and naturally. As you can probably tell by now, these dudes are quite skilled and have a firm grasp of how to compose songs that are as challenging for the listener to absorb as they are dynamic. "XS2XTC" is comprised of fourteen tracks and they lack neither face-melting aggression nor intensity. From pummeling riffs to mind-numbingly heavy breakdowns and further on to rather mellow and introspective parts, Almøst Human demand and require attention and focus on the part of the listener as the music constantly shifts gear and throws a number of cool curveballs one’s way. You will find strong and addictive melodies, majestic and otherworldly passages, growling as well as clean vocals, twisted riffs, and moods that range from bleak and cynical to warm and comforting. I dig the fact that the sound of the album is a little rough around the edges as it adds an organic and lively feel to the proceedings. On top of that, the philosophical lyrics are well-written and go hand in hand with the music nicely. The highlights are "Chemical Breakfast", "Clowned", and the cryptic "System of Beliefs", so if nothing else, make sure you check those three punishing tracks out.
"XS2XTC" is a not exactly flawless as such as there is room for improvement in certain areas (mostly with respect to the vocals as they could have been even more varied to match the many nuances of certain tunes), but it is undoubtedly a damn fine and fascinating output that deserves to be heard by as many of you openminded fucks out there as possible. The CD version is a very cool-looking digipak and the artwork fits like a glove, so really, if experimental metal with a progressive vibe to it sounds compelling to your ears then there is simply no way around this fascinating opus by Almøst Human.