Sometimes I feel like I'm getting old. I like some noisy releases, but find that straight-up noise just makes my head hurt a little bit too much and makes me feel like turning the stereo off and going outside and trying to find something in nature to enjoy. Maybe I've become a finer admirer of things going worse in the world, though, because although I'm still not a huge fan of mind-melting noise music, there are things I really enjoy about Human Animal.
I'm certainly aware that I gave the last album from the group (Burned Mind) a less-than-favorable review (after which I received some emails telling me I was stupid), but while the group is still haunting largely the same ground with this newest effort, there's something about it that feels more subtly evil, which in my mind is better than over-the-top evil. I guess it's probably the reason I enjoy psychological horror films that all-out gore fests (although I can appreciate Evil Dead). One of the differences between the two albums is that long-time member Aaron Dilloway has been replaced on this recording by Mike Connelly (of Hair Police), but the sonics are slightly different as well.
Although there's still plenty of bowel-churning beats, the group rations them out a lot more, and the first third of the disc is more sparse and downright creepy than just about anything they've done. "A Million Years" is all crunchy, low-end rattling percussive hits that sound like someone slamming hammers against everything they can find in a old warehouse, while "Lake Of Roaches" is all squirming high-end radio-noise and disembodied howls. "Rationed Rot" is the best of them all, with muttered over-the-top vocals, some strained reed work, thudding beats, watery noises, and bursts of electronics that all tighten the coil of claustrophobia for a solid eight minutes.
From there, the disc moves into more familiar territory as the album-titled track, "Rusted Mange," and "Driller" pound away with distorted beats, screamed vocals, and layers and layers of shredding noise and high-frequency electronics. The album closing cover of "Noise Not Music" finds the trio moving into industrial speed noise metal, and the result is a charge after the dirging pace of the rest of the disc. Human Animal certainly isn't something I'd want to pull out on a regular basis, but there's some beautiful evil I can appreciate on this one.