A.H.P. - Against Human Plague (VIA NOCTURNA - CD 2016)
Some of you may be familiar with Gulnar, also from the band called Illness. This Polish / but based in Norway / project delivered some really good albums through the past years (I especially recommend his last work, an EP titled “Trumna”). But recently Gulnar did also an album for his another project called AHP what stands for “Against Human Plague” and this is how his debut album is also called. To be honest, I don’t know why this album was not released as Illness, as stylistically Illness and AHP are pretty close… but who cares. It doesn’t matter at all. I can tell you one thing for sure; that “Against Human Plague” is fantastic and very impressive album.
Illness was known for its unconventional take on harsh black metal with something they called audio necroterror. AHP is pretty much similar, as it also combines traditional means of Scandinavian black metal in the vein of Mayhem and Darkthrone with dirty, mechanical wall of noise, creating a disturbing and hateful sound, which in some way may remind you such Mysticum, Blacklodge or even some very early bits from Anaal Nathrakh and Aborym. But on the other hand it offers a bit more. For example the first song on “Against Human Plague”, which is also a title track, begins with a riff that could have easily been taken from “Under a Funeral Moon” (both album and the song!), with its total simplicity and aggression, dark and hateful aura. This is also as ferocious and fast as it can only get. And such are many songs on this album. It’s straight to the point and no bullshit harsh, industrialized black metal. But among my favourite songs is “Drowned”, which is much slower, more melancholic and kind of how Burzum sounded on such “Filosofem”, at least in the beginning, as with time it gets more aggressive.
What intrigues here is how this album is structured. You have all those harsh, noisy black metal anthems, but every second track is a disturbing, dark ambient / industrial piece. “Down Here”, “Decay” or “Dungeon of Rotting Corpses” are kind of bridges between all songs, but they also work as something what is about to complete that whole deranged and schizophrenic aura of this music. The feeling of listening to something mechanical and inhuman is even bigger then. These ambient pieces I just mentioned are all instrumental, except one called “Crawling Shadows”. This one is just an insane ambient with some harsh, furious screams of Gulnar over it. And it sounds awesome.
Completed with couple of cover tunes (of War and Beherit), you will obtain a diverse and intriguing, very well composed album that I think some will hate, but many will truly like. I’m definitely into “Against Human Plague”, very recommended album for sure.
Standout tracks: “Against Human Plague”, “Crawling Shadows”, “Drowned”
Final rate: 80/100