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Countless progressive extreme metal bands have sprouted out over the years, with personalities like Ihsahn releasing excellent records after the demise of Emperor, fusing elements from various musical genres into one unique genre that defies classification. Sweden has also seen their fair share of such "progressive extreme metal" bands, such as Opeth. Unfortunately, while Opeth has ditched the extreme metal side of their music, excellent bands such as Waning have gone under the radar, and this year sees the band coming back strongly with their sophomore full length album, The Human Condition.
Waning's music right from the beginning is a rather emotional journey, with the bleak and desolate riffs that are unleashed by guitarists Andreas and Anders, topped by the desperate pleas of vocalist Robert, his growls drenched with desperation. The music on The Human Condition is fundamentally black metal, though there is a somewhat depressive touch to the music, at times reminding listeners of such bands as Pestilential Shadows and their latest work, especially in the riff and vocals work on the album. The focus and sense of melody by the band is easily displayed through songs like To the Smouldering Next, with the almost melodic death metal sounding riffs that are present on the track. The progressive side of the band can also be heard on longer tracks like Continuum, which displays the band's songwriting prowess, transiting between different styles with ease.
There is nothing particularly technical on The Human Condition, as the main focus here is on the emotions that the band is able to evoke through the melodies in the music. The lead guitar portions on the music often serve to help to enhance the atmosphere rather than for the guitarists to show off their technical chops, and Christoffer's drumming throughout the album is rather simple and consistent, though he tries to include some moments of intensity at times as well, such as on more aggressive tracks like End Assembly, adding some spice to the listening experience. Furthermore, the band expresses the emotions well with the usage of clean passages throughout the album that at times add a tinge of sadness and melancholy to the music. The guitar tone on the album also have a somewhat spacey effect, providing the music with a nice atmosphere, with the trem-picked riffs that are often utilised by the axe-wielding duo, and title/instrumental track The Human Condition perhaps best displays the intentions of the band.
The production quality of The Human Condition is also clean and polished, allowing each of the instruments to shine. And this is especially suitable for the style of music that Waning plays, with the constant transition between clean and more aggressive sections, and the polished production is most evident on the clean guitars that often make their presence heard throughout the album.
The Human Condition is an excellent album that brings in some fresh air to the saturated genre. The emotional touch that the band has included on the album has also made it extremely enjoyable, setting Waning apart from their numerous Swedish black metal counterparts.
Sweden has always been my favorite death metal factory, but today my thoughts have been changed completely after I listened to the album "The Human Condition" for the Swedish black metal band Waning. This talented band has started its long musical trip in 2007, and only released the debut album "Population Control" in 2008, and this year the band continue its interesting and extreme trip with an epic release.
The album contains about eight tracks that roar for about 43 minutes, there's something about this release is spellbinding, every single grinding riff has been recorded and left a trace on this record has an astonishing magnetism, the bolts of your brain will be instantly removed and all the magnetizable cells will capture the fascination of every track, so this release will be one of the most memorable records this year. Several bands try to reach the complex and the professional structure of black metal, and so many expectations we might have in our minds, but Wining shows how to nail all the expectations and strikes the listeners with expert and monstrous performance in every track they make. Some tracks like "End Assembly" and "Continuum" display mastery, the drumming and the bass succumb to the towering waves of the rhythm guitars naturally, and some tracks like the instrumental "The Human Condition" and "Void" are a real demonstration of how to build a completely brilliance, the lead guitar efforts are dramatically grabbed by the distinguished illumination of the overall extreme sound.
Though the production is not flawlessly perfect, but this band reminds me a lot of the Swedish black metal act "Dissection", especially the vocals and its verge of crispiness, you can hear the soul of Jon Nodtveidt clearly inside the throat of Robert Arntsen (the vocalist of the band), and you can notice this clearly in the tracks "Beneath a Septic Sun" and "Cynic Eye". The Progressive efforts and the intensive efficient loudness and energy gave a classic color to this record, and the brittle production gave a modern stain on the surface of the songwriting.
If you are searching for an excellent black metal release that gathers the roots of the Swedish black metal acts and paints them with modern colors, then this album is recommended for you, every single memorable riff really consumes your time in a beautiful way, open your doors for the new Dissection and get your head ready to headbang while listening to these fascinating tracks.
Originally written by:
Now this is pretty fucking cool. Waning take quite a modern, almost experimental/progressive style of black metal with shades of artists as diverse as Blut Aus Nord and Katatonia audibly clear in their sound. Think along the lines of acts such as Shining, Cobalt and Thorns as well, and we start talking Waning's language.
What immediately struck me about this album, and attracted me to the band in the first place was their atmosphere. Oftentimes bleak, yet thoroughly enticing, and bringing to mind nightmare images of suffocating technology, and Goliath buildings all washed in pallid grey and frighteningly lucid. The music on The Human Condition meticulously weaves this atmosphere, and a quality, almost mechanical production fills the room slowly until bleeding the walls. Those who believe black metal begins and ends at the second wave would do well to ignore this one.
The Human Condition is packed with brilliant riffs, intricate performances and dynamic vocals. Tracks such as "To the Smouldering Next" or the unsettling dirge of the title track really show what Waning are capable of and I believe these guys are going to be a band to watch over the next few years. The band create some truly devastating moments throughout this record, and fans of mature, forward-thinking black metal are going to want to grab a copy as soon as possible.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
The Human Condition is the second record of the Swedish band and offers eight tracks with a total playing time of 43:18 minutes. The style they are playing isn’t as easy to describe as the one of various other bands, as there are several elements combined. The basic frame is clearly a black metal one, but there are some influences of other genres as well and especially the guitars are trying to change the style. Those are pending between typical tremolo riffs in mid- and high-tempo, but they are quite reduced and decent. The basic element of the compositions are several changes in tempo which manage to alternate the songs enough to keep things interesting, but they still keep the basic elements/moods.
Everything is combined with the quite harsh vocals which could be described as “screamed”, although it’s still quite comprehensible. While it’s mostly done in this way, it is still varied over the several songs in terms of dynamics and timbres, which keeps things interesting. The two most fundamental things are the varied and refreshing drum patterns and the long-drawn disharmonics. Compared to the typical black metal songs, the drums are really complex and therefore adding another layer to the sound. As interesting as this are those disharmonics I mentioned, which are interwined with the harmonics and are creating a strange mood. Of course there is bass as well, but it’s mostly subtle and only sometimes stepping up to play some melodies.
There are some minor flaws as well, which could be enumerated quite fast. One of them would be the vocals, that are – at least sometimes – too silent (especially when they switch from screams to those nagged ones). Another one could be the transitions between faster and slower parts, as they are a bit abrupt at times, which disturbs the listening flow. The last one is the compact sound, that could lead to slight headaches, although it is really clear and defined at the same time.
Waning created a record, that featured a relatively new, refreshing style of black metal apart of the “mainstream” one and features several details and gimmickry. The extensive play with disharmonics and complex drum grooves is quite refreshing and of course varied. The record offers a lot of entertainment with some lenghtes and therefore is recommendable. You should at least risk an ear on spotify (which features the whole record!) as the digipack version isn’t released yet.
Written for http://threnodies.com
In a world where drifting, melodic post-black metal acts are all the rage of late, it's practically offensive to me that Swedes Waning have not garnered more attention for their curious take on the style. Why spend the time and energy absorbing monotonous, effortless paeans to emptiness like the recent Lantlôs or Altar of Plagues releases when there is something so much more vibrant and effective just around the corner? Population Control was a promising lattice of compact drums, huge swaths of guitar tone and an almost organic influx of nihilistic urban-industrial subtext that permeated both the lyrics and composition; and it's successor, The Human Condition does it proud, if anything broadening the scope of the unsung quintet.
The guitars are kept simple, brazen and loud through cuts like "Beneath a Septic Sun", "Void" and "Continuum", presenting a cautious balance of consonance and dissonance while they wreak emotional trauma upon the audience. Virile melodic strains will often manifest off the primary thrust of the chords, but the careful threading of the bass against the dominant riffs creates a curious level of warmth and immersion, almost as if one were glimpsing out through a fluid womb to the blinding penetration of sunlight. Waning plays a lot with the tempo of beats, so that even a more straight ahead, driving riff is given an almost mechanical variation beneath, but the best parts of The Human Condition arrive when all of the varying instruments condense into some saddening contemporary black/doom passage like the bridge of the title track, through which tremolo picked guitars careen like crashing tears until the drums drop and create the bright, droning apparition of a climax.
Another contributor to the atmosphere is the vocal presence, which proves dynamic enough that no two tracks sound quite alike. Many feature the massive, drowning black rasp expected of the modern black metal genre, but then you've got a piece like the excellent "Through Fields of Mercury" in which a more somber, bitter tone is used to set up the more barbaric snarl. I could definitely make out an almost post-2000 Katatonia influence to the compositions, only this group embeds the dreamy, depressive riffing into a louder skeletal mechanism redolent of bands as widespread as Thorns, Neurosis, Void and Thralldom. The Human Condition doesn't haunt you from the woodlands, or harry you from antiquity, but it boldly screams at you from the surrounding, suffocating walls of brick, steel and plastic of the dystopia so many of us find ourselves lost in. It's abrasive and yet strangely calming, as if just knowing its pains are alive in your synapses is a comfort, and to that extent, I would place it just inches beyond its predecessor in terms of achievement and quality. Worth hearing.