Once Human returns with their second album Evolution and it certainly lives up to the name. The band features former Machine Head guitarist in his return to musicianship, although he never really left the music world. For a while Logan Mader bounced around from Soulfly to another sludgier heavy band Medication to eventually settling into a role in production and engineering albums like by Gojira, Divine Heresy, Five Finger Death Punch and more. That production style rubs off on the overall sound of the album here. For those that may be late to the party on this band, sound wise ranges from that little pocket of technicity found on Machine Head’s first album blended with a melodic death metal styling of Arch Enemy with a bit more of the progressive side of Cradle of Filth. This album adds newer layers incorporating Djent styled riffs, but not falling pray to the common pitfalls that come with constantly riding that lower guitar string.
Instrumentally, the CD is a great riff factory featuring a lot of fancy fret work of not just Logan but 2 additional guitarists. It’s been stated that with the addition of the newer guitarist really helped shape this album and forced the rest of the band to step up their game. Vocalist Lauren Hart unleashes a raw untouched guttural vocal laced with tasteful cleans that I think most bands with female leads could use to learn from. Lauren’s vocals are a definite measuring stick that will make many rethink the cliché’ Heavy Metal mentality of “ oh it’s a chick singer.” The samples and extra keyboard work enhance what is already a busy record and add great layers of depth similar to Devin Townsend’s work.
Song wise the album has a ton of strong points with “Eye of Chaos” taking you on a rollercoaster of riffs and most of the rest of the CD follows suit without making it sound super repetitive like most metal bands who ride root notes. There are some great moments of melodic-ness especially in the album’s closer “Passenger”. My only complaint about the album is on “Killers for the Cure,” where I’m not sure if this translated the way they wanted to. The bass hits a bad note several times and it doesn’t work out in that cool discordant way, putting a minor blemish on what is a sonically great album. If you can get it, the Japanese version has a studio version of their often covered live staple of Machine Head’s “Davidian”
Bottom Line: Overall this is something I’ll be giving a ton of replay throughout the year and look forward to what’s next from the band.
Notable Tracks: Gravity, Eye of Chaos, Dark Matter, Passenger