In Memoriam: The Unflushable HUMANFLY

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It’s a beautiful Spring day and you are out in the city, walking with a friend. Your friend sees a familiar face, and introduces you to this man. You are captivated by him. You… love him. After some nervous chit-chat, you agree to get coffee on Tuesday, and when you do, he charms you. You get drinks the next night, and he gets more fascinating with every joke and anecdote. There’s just so much to him. He has so much experience and pulls from so many spheres of knowledge that you have difficulty keeping up with the conversation, but his words are just so goddamn beautiful it’s ok if you don’t know what all of it means. It all seems too good to be true, so to be safe you do a bit of internet searching about the man’s past. He checks out; it turns out this man has done everything he claims and seems to be quite the respected figure in his British hometown. He’s also been dead for 6 months.

Spooky Halloween story? Not at all. This, my friends, is what I experienced when I discovered Humanfly, British post-metal’s most precious gift to the universe. Several months ago my good chums in Earthrise told me about Humanfly’s most recent record Awesome Science, not knowing they had ceased to perform and write as a band. I listened to this album obsessively for weeks, unable to listen to other music for more than 30 seconds before deciding it wasn’t worth it to not be listening to Awesome Science again. When I finally felt emotionally stable enough to find more of their music and learn about them as a band, I was devastated to learn they had broken up the previous year. Humanfly was deader than disco.

 

HUMANFLY: PHASE 1

Humanfly‘s early releases were rooted in hardcore, cherrypicking dissonant elements from the family tree of Rorschach and Botch to garnish onto a base dish of meaty riffs played at highway speeds.

 

HUMANFLY: PHASE 2

They soon moved on from musical drag racing to writing “impossibly long songs” that patiently twist and turn through a forsaken countryside of Lovecraftian horrors. The records II and Darker Later* are A++ post metal with a distinctive dark and dirty vibe. Even the quiet portions maintain a layer of blue collar grease on them, never going full “post-rock pretty” with delay-drenched major 7ths.

 

HUMANFLY: PHASE 3

Finally we arrive at Humanfly’s swansong, Awesome Science. This is the handsome and mysterious stranger you met in my introductory paragraph.The entire record is a masterwork. Rich tones and commitment to long-form songcraft simultaneously challenge and comfort the listener. The album-opening strains of Golden Arrows feel like you are opening your eyes for the first time in decades, groggy but resolute, cradled in the arms of the universe.

This is the sound of a soul.

When listening through Humanfly’s discography, it’s surprising to think that it’s the same human singing throughout every record. The wails and screeches of the early releases are vicious and vulnerable. In marvelous contrast, the singing found on Awesome Science is delicate, masculine, and graceful, simultaneously full of heart and the empty vastness of space.  These tracks are on the long side, but  5-15 minute run times are utterly necessary space to encapsulate everything this band seeks to accomplish. This is a landscape, and the peaks are tall; the valleys, deep; the plains, wide; the wildlife, alien.

 

 

This Halloween, take a break from worshipping your Dark Lord to remember what truly matters, for on that most unhallowed day in 2013 Humanfly played their final show. If you let their memory die, there is innocent blood on your hands. Eat candy, drink beer. This do, in remembrance of Humanfly.

 

UNFLUSHABLE   \\\   R.I.P.

 

*Using your album title to reference Nick Drake is such a gangster fucking move. Respect.

  • Death

    I can’t keep up with all this good music! I don’t have enough time for all of this!

    • Edward Meehan

      JINX. Same time, Death. Well played.

      • Death

        Listening to all this music will eventually be the death of me (little ironic). But it will be a beautiful death (no Wintersun pun intended).

    • W.

      I gave up trying to keep up a long time ago. If something pique’s my interest, I’ll check it out, but I just don’t have the time to go through literally every band ever talked about on here. I try to listen to as many as I can, though.

      • Death

        I usually try to listen to black metal, grind and experimental stuff because they are my favourite.

        • W.

          I’ll typically jam the stuff from round-ups, etc., but I usually end up listening to only a few releases from Toilet Tuesday.

        • Xan

          I typically will listen to anything with folk or ambient style. Shit that is really dark will always get a go. I typically won’t listen to noise, rap, hip-hop, disco, and most genres with the word core or post in it. Death metal, thrash, doom (sometimes), and black usually will get a go if I have time. There have a been a few exceptions, for instance, I listened to every single band on the Lovecraft and Tolkien posts because I am a super fan of both writers and love anything to do with them.

          • W.

            I’m glad you enjoyed those posts, Xan-san.

          • Xan

            Thank you for writing them. Ceremonial Castings is by far my favorite find. Their style really resonates with me.

      • Howard Dean

        Same. I have a pretty good sense of what I do like, what I will probably like, and what I want to try, and I use these (flexible) parameters to hone my listening. I think someone even trying to keep up with everything we post would be futile, as they likely wouldn’t spend the requisite time with an album/artist to really get a feel for what it’s all about. It would be like skimming.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          I’ve never tried to keep up with everything. I give a listen to every band mentioned in an article (sans most of toilet tuesday). And much of the embedded stuff on comments gets a go. But I never come back to most.

          • W.

            That’s usually how I am. I mostly enjoy listening to albums more than singles though, so sometimes I’ll feel an upcoming release away in my head rather than just getting a taste of the album beforehand.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            More or less the same. If I have a tingle about an upcoming album I’ll usually wait for it’s release (or at least a full stream) and skip the singles/teasers

        • Mr.CustodialArts

          Every minute you spend on new stuff is a minute you’re not giving to Bolt Thrower…THINK ABOUT IT.

      • I really don’t know how tyree does it. I think he can stop time and just hasn’t told us.

        • W.

          I’m digging Humanfly though

          • I’m afraid to listen to humanfly since they are no more lol. Loving canvas though.

          • Also I have listened to nothing but that bloodshot dawn album today. I even skipped an archspire song. I may have a problem.

          • W.

            Is it streaming anywhere other than M$?

          • It’s uh….not streaming yet…both new songs are on YouTube though. Kickstarter backers got the album download early.

          • W.

            Ah gotcha.

    • That’s why the site has an archive

      • Which is why NO ONE SHOULD EVER LEAVE THE TOILET. STAY HERE FOR-EVER. FOR-EVER. FOR-EVER.

  • Edward Meehan

    I am a Botch superfan. That said, I’ll add this to my Infinitely Growing List of Music to Listen To.

    • HessianHunter

      I know its overwhelming to keep up with everything, but everyone likes music videos, right? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S_EIynCSfE

      • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

        I love you. I love Humanfly. Never even heard of them before.

        I’ll check out Canvas once I’m over this.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          Humanfly is a great addition to proof that only great bands openly refer to great artists (that you wouldn’t guess inspired them)

      • I have to hunt down some of Humanfly’s stuff now. This shit is good. Even the extreme bits are musical and memorable.

        Would not flush.

  • Dan Burton

    Check out ‘Lost In Rock’ by Canvas, the band that spawned some of the members of Humanfly. Canvas were about twenty years too early for their brand of Avant Grind.

    • HessianHunter

      Was not aware of that history. Thank you!

      • Dan Burton

        Canvas’ entire back catalogue is incredible.

  • Dan Burton

    Canvas – Womb Plague: http://youtu.be/nZmcyGjCoJg

    • HessianHunter

      FFFUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK

      • HessianHunter

        Like I thought this was pretty sweet, then that shit happened at 2:00 and FFFFUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK

    • Holy sweet fuck.

    • W.

      WOW

    • This is way better than Nails.

      …alright: I’ll just get my jacket and get up out of here now.

    • The Satan Ov Hell

      Daaaaaaamn, this is dragged right outta home! I like.

  • W.

    This is pretty gnarly stuff. Never listened to this band before. Kind of a less noisy Locust vibe.

  • This band is new to me but I love it. High level of musicianship = high level of my respect.

    Thanks HH.

  • Antonius Block, A Knight

    Awesome Science is actually awesome

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Dude, this is really good. Like, really fucking good. Thank you HessianHunter for introducing me to this awesomeness.
    Nipple Approved.

  • pïgchop™

    Just for the hell of it, here is a trailer for the porn version of Evil Dead. I humbly offer you EVIL HEAD! Hmmm – that did not come out quite right. haha.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TyzcIh86fY

  • Renan Ribeiro

    I will do as you did and move from their newest towards their oldest.

    Short, yet solid write-up. Congrats.

    • HessianHunter

      Thanks, bud. I put a lot of work into this one because I love this bands so fucking much. I wasn’t exaggerating in my 2nd paragraph about how obsessed I was with Awesome Science.

      • Renan Ribeiro

        You had me interested with just a few words, your love for this band shows through your article.

        I’m currently on the 5th track of “Darker Later” and feeling awesome. This might become one of my favorite bands with time.

      • Renan Ribeiro

        Also, do you know any stories behind “Nenhuns deuses nenhuns mestres”? It’s portuguese for No Gods No Masters (with a small ortographic error)… Just wondering why they’d name it in portuguese.

        Yes, I am listening to II.

  • FeelTheDarkness

    Blowfly. Check him out.

  • Renan Ribeiro

    The bass in all of Awesome Science is making me almost feel like I love life. Almost.

  • Renan Ribeiro

    “This is where your parents fucked” and god damn did they gave birth to some awesome riffs in the process

  • Davefly

    Just came across this article. Thanks for the kind words! Glad you’re into our music!

    As a thank you, the first 10 people to email me with a link to a digital album of ours they’d like can have a free D/L code: dave.humanfly@gmail.com

    Thanks!

    http://www.humanfly.bandcamp.com

    • HessianHunter

      I much more sterling thanks is in order for you giving us all this killer music to geek out over.

      • Davefly

        You’re more than welcome. It’s cool to know that you guys are digging it.
        Oh, and check your inbox!