Label: LaSomba Records
Humana, a four-piece band hailing from Chile, who play somewhat a medley of post-hardcore, alt rock and pop-punk, and “Views” is their 2008 full-length album, the second out of the three they have released so far.
One thing about Humana becomes abundantly clear: they wear their influences on their sleeve. The most notable are Deftones, in the style of the instrumentation, chord changes and timing, and Glassjaw, with the vocals and Thrice in general. There are also times on here that are very similar to the pop-punk moments that Coheed And Cambria occasionally did during the earlier albums, and sometimes like Fall Out Boy. At other moments, there’s heavier (though not as heavy) moments nodding towards Every Time I Die.
While this confusing mixture of sounds might put some people off, “Views” is an album that definitely showcases some interesting ideas that are considerably forward-thinking for the time, although these moments are what we might now hear in the majority of pop-punk/post-hardcore bands. The album is just under 27-minutes long, none of the tracks running longer that 3.35 minutes long – a lot of the tracks feeling like small bites.
The first track Moving Forward opens the album sharply, beginning with a slightly muffled guitar strummed, quickly roaring its way towards clarity. Once the riff flourishes, it sounds like the riff birthchild of early Lostprophets and early Good Charlotte – feeling vibrant, angsty yet brooding slightly. The drums in particular follow Abe of Deftones particular frequently changing and hard-hitting style. However, the vocals sort of flattens the energy of track. The high and slightly whiny vocals are either going to have you singing along or leaving a bitter taste in your earbuds… and unfortunately, it’s the latter for this reviewer.
Care For Change, the third track, opens really surprisingly: the opening instrumentation hints towards what we now call “djent” – the polyrhythmic and odd-timing of the drums and guitars. While you shouldn’t expect crushing Meshuggah-style riffs, there’s definitely a teaser of it between the chugged moments of guitar and the drums, which grabs your attention. The vocals generally hover to a slightly lower range, sounding more like the clean vocals of Greg Puciato, if he tried fronting Fall Out Boy. The overall feel of the song is pretty pleasant and smooth, although a generic breakdown makes its way into its last moments.
Perfectly Matching has a pretty addictive aesthetic overall, with mid-tempo layered guitars and driving drums as the vocals interweaves with it all and really resonates playful yet straightforward side of Coheed And Cambria, especially of their earlier material. The final track, Future Perspective D, is an instrumental track that almost brings a much needed punch to the album but just too late (an earlier track, Future Perspective C, features too much of a stagnant chug breakdown worship). Progressing from a droney ambient beginning into a section where the bass just goes with a start-stop riff while the drums build up the tension, then it goes into a slightly prog-metal groove – not too far from what you might expect from a simpler Protest The Hero. Then the album ends with some failing electronics that flatline into a buzz.
In hindsight, “Views” may have been slightly ahead of its time, especially with its ideas and meshing of genre-defining signatures However, due to hindsight, the sound of this album is everywhere on mainstream rock music channels now and in that prospect it’s hard to take anything special away from it, something that feels individual. It becomes a split matter of being impressed by it being ahead of the unfortunate trend and dilution of its style and just having heard the style to a claustrophobic degree; although nowhere pulled off as well as on “Views”.
However, if you’re a general fan of all things Deftones, Hopesfall and Glassjaw along with the love for pop-punk, then there’s probably not much that you won’t like on this. But this isn’t a one-ingredient solution, and so if you frowned at one of the above, one or two traits might rub you the wrong way. The effort and ideas on this album are respectable and can’t help inject some feeling of being impressed by the band, but for this reviewer, it’s generally hard to completely enjoy it. It’s not bad, it just suffers slightly from time, which is by no fault of its own.
Favourite tracks: Care For Change, Future Perspective D.