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these guys broke up, how tragic - 51%

Noktorn, April 13th, 2010

The mid to late '00s seem to be littered with releases like this: one-off brutal death pseudo-supergroups which release a single album before collapsing. Apparently Human Artifacts actually went somewhere; they somehow got enough support to tour Europe even before their only full-length's release, which comes as a surprise given the still relatively unknown and unappreciated place they occupy in the modern brutal death scene. Like a lot of brutal death from this era, it feels like it's at least half a decade too late: were United Guttural still around, Human Artifacts would be with them, but as such, Comatose was left to pick up the pieces of that entire style.

In truth this is rather lazy sounding; it's very paint-by-numbers brutal death. Mildly slam influenced, occasionally somewhat technical, but generally based on the typical Dying Fetus/post-Suffocation NY mold, this doesn't really offer anything that hasn't been heard before repeatedly. Some of the melodies are almost laughably cheesy with their attempt at a dark, horror movie-like atmosphere, and none of the tracks really have any memorability or enduring strength to them. I suppose in many ways this most reminds me of Dyscrasia; it has a similarly waffling proto-slam feel to it, but where Dyscrasia's weirdness gave them personality, Human Artifacts just comes off as clumsy and unsure of itself. If you've heard, say, five brutal death CDs in the past five years, you've heard everything present on this album.

This isn't a sheer waste of money because the production and playing are perfectly adequate and the music isn't unlistenable, but there's obviously numerous, better albums to invest your money in, including releases from the very same label and the associated other projects of the band's members. Oh well, Human Artifacts split up after this album, so 'The Principles Of Sickness' will go down as the footnote in history it was probably always meant to be.