Ugly Modern Aggression

Human Disorder

Blue Summit / Ruptured Discs Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/06/1999

Often, when a band models their sound after another group who has enjoyed some level of success, the end result is one that is not as satisfying as the original. And what is sad about this is that the newer band usually had enough strength to stand on their own.

Take Human Disorder, for example. One listen to their disc my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ugly Modern Aggression, and you'd almost swear that you were listening to Pantera - only they're not as good as Pantera. For a band that underwent a transformation while recording this album, it almost sounds like we're listening to a work in progress, and that shouldn't be what a debut disc should sound like.

The band - lead vocalist Scott Bowen, lead vocalist/guitarist Jay Taillefer, guitarist Tim Letkemann, bassist Keith Gillam and drummer Joe Lavergne - seems like they're earnest enough, pounding away on their instruments with vigor and screaming as if their vocal chords were caught in a paper shredder. Sometimes, on cuts like the title track and "Head On," this approach works well.

Unfortunately for Human Disorder, after a while, the listener might find themselves saying, "Been there, done that." Tracks like "No Prisoner," Puzzled" and "Crash" all tend to run into each other, failing to distinguish themselves to the listener. Even tracks that do make themselves stand out, like "Everybody Fuck," are garbled terribly with vocals that are shouted at maximum volume. Sorry, gang, that doesn't always work.

And, yes, often it feels like you're listening to a poor man's Pantera. The guitar crunch is there, the drum work is there, and the tongue-on-sandpaper guttural screams are there. But what Human Disorder fails to do often enough is to take the sound and mold it into its own unique flavor. Granted, they're a young band who have recently taken the more intense road. But if they're going to want to keep the attention of the listeners, they're going to need to adjust their music and songwriting until they have turned the sound into their own.

Human Disorder is still a band that is discovering who they are; it's too bad that Ugly Modern Aggression documents that slow process.

Rating: C-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blue Summit / Ruptured Discs Records, and is used for informational purposes only.