Grindcore should be a simple style of heavy metal, right? Focus on short songs, heavily distorted guitars, vocals that are barked, shrieked, or both, pummeling blastbeats and double bass, and, generally, stray as far away as possible from your standard, mainstream song structures. Sure, grindcore has always been known as the ADD riddled brother of punk, but over the years it had begun to take on its own very special evolution. While there are still bands that subscribe to the original tenets of the sub-genre, it seems that the popularity of d-beat (mixing hardcore drum beats, grooves, and breaks with the ferocity of grindcore) has been steadily rising over the past few years. D-beat is a formula that works incredibly well with the high energy of grindcore, and Human Cull are looking to make their mark.Although Human Cull have d-beat elements in their music, they are more of a hybrid of both the old-and-new-schools of grindcore. They blend the chaotic and abrasive nature of theirpredecessors, while attempting to set themselves apart openly embracing the hardcore-tinged sound.
As soon as the guitar feedback of “Teeth For Revenge” opens the record, you know you’re set for a session of the angry, heavily distorted noise that we should all know and love. While there are many albums like this, Stillborn Nation does exude a certain British charm that captures me pretty early on; there is just something about the chainsaw guitar tone that only a Boss HM-2 pedal can create that gets my blood pumping, heart racing, and an inescapable itch to go stomp some fascists/Nazis/homophobes into the ground when it’s mixed with Human Cull‘s organized chaos.
Despite all of its qualities, there is something missing from Stillborn Nation that would otherwise make it a Must Buy™ for grinders everywhere; while the entire point of this style is to be nothing more than a memorable whirling dervish of hostility, I found myself nodding off after a few songs, and being lost within the album. Human Cull also happen to rely heavily on grindcore’s multitude of all-but-too-common chord formulas, turning it into a crutch that would pad some extra seconds into songs, or even adding in filler altogether (I’m looking at you “Barely Hominid”“). In cases like this there may be very little the offending band is able to do in order to ensure this sort of inaction does not impede their efforts too much, but in Human Cull‘s case it does more harm than good, even with the filthy-yet-clear production.
As much as I love grindcore, ithas grown stagnant as of late. There are not a lot of albums that come along that are able to really “wow” me and put me on my fat ass. While I’m sure that this is the reaction Human Cull would have liked to provide with Stillborn Nation, in the end there are just too many clichés for me to think it would warrant anything more than a cursory listen or two. Please don’t get me wrong, as there are things that are done right (look at songs like “Superstitious Disease” or “Sick With Hate“), but there is just too much boredom to ignore.
While if you get your hands on Stillborn Nation, you’ll get some enjoyment out of it, it will definitely not become a staple of your LP collection, ending up forgotten and destined to collect dust for a few years… until you go through your collection, find it, blow the dust off, spin it once more and repeat the process.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]