Videoclip of the Month!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Human Improvement Process - S.T.A.R.S

The Human Improvement Process - S.T.A.R.S

S.T.A.R.S is Human Improvement Process’s debut EP. This EP was released in 2011 by Tek Records. With many bands searching for their own unique sound, Human Improvement Process is one of these bands. These guys sit somewhere in the between deathcore, hardcore and there are a few elements of power and heavy metal in there as well. Also there is a progressive feeling to the music as well. This EP is definitely something new and may show a new direction, they have mixed plenty of different elements together to make something different than the rest. They have pulled together elements of hardcore, deathcore, power and dubstep as well. The result of this is a very unique sound that doesn’t sound half bad. Also the implementation of these elements are fairly well done and well rounded.

As soon as you start playing the first track you can tell that these guys have a deathcore/hardcore approach to the music by the actual structure of the songs and the use of breakdowns. But also they have included elements of power/heavy metal this is usually in the chorus and the guitar solos. Also they have placed some dubstep beats to mix things up a little. Also unlike other deathcore/hardcore bands, these guys are very melodic and aren’t focused on heaviness or brutality. Instead they have a more progressive feel to them and have a strong atmosphere to them and also an upbeat mood (usually). These guys have successfully created their own sound without you feeling like you are listening to an avant-garde or experimental band. They have done this by separating the sections; they have isolated the deathcore/hardcore parts in the main parts of the song and the power/heavy metal in the chorus and the solos.   

The vocals are fairly well done as well and they put them in the right places. The clean vocals are nice and even throughout each line. Also they are very crisp and clear. The dirty vocals are pretty good as well. The growls sound like your ordinary hardcore growls, not too deep but not so high pitched that it sounds almost neutral. The screams on the other hand sound very awkward, they sound like childish shrieks similar to Chelsea Grin’s or early Cradle Of Filth’s screamed vocals. Also the screamed lyrics are said very quickly are sound like they have a sense of urgency. Although they have both screams and growls, the growls are predominately used. Also the vocalist stays in time with the rest of the band so well that it seems like the vocals are conducting the pace of the music rather than the drumming.

The drumming is also fairly good he stays at a nice quick pace without sounding like he is doing his own thing. The drumming sounds fairly death metal influenced with some awesome blast beats and a pretty good double bass/kick. But when the music gets slow he also gets slow to match the intended mood. The double bass his higher pitch than some of the other bands prefer, this creates the illusion that the double kick is going faster but it’s not really. It really works with the sound though.

The guitars are not bad as well, they do keep a nice steady pace throughout the whole EP and they are very tight with the vocals and the drums as well. Also, like the drumming they keep at the right pace for the intended mood of the track. Also the solos are very high in energy just like in most power/heavy metal bands. The blend of the different styles of guitar work really suits this band well. Also the lead guitarist creates some really uplifting atmospheres and ambient throughout most of the EP.  

There are a few really good tracks in this EP, some of them really show the innovation of this band combining some genres that some people would think wouldn’t go well together but they have made it go very well. There are some really guitar solos which I think is intended to promote a good feeling. They have fast high energy ones and some slower and more ambient ones. The fastest solo would have to be in the track The Process, it sounds like your typical thrash metal or death metal solo. If you want a slower or more ambient solo style the track S.T.A.R.S has a pretty good solo in it as well. Like many bands they have chosen to include an electronic element to their music, but unlike the other bands they have mixed it together with some more ambient music. This is pretty good because it balances the music rather than having 1 element more over powering than the other one. There is evidence of this in the track Remaining Hours. Remaining Hours is a musical and the feeling you get from listening to it is very uplifting and sound very calm.

It’s not the only track with some feeling in it. Almost all of the tracks have a strong element of emotion in it, the track Ascension Of Silence and S.T.A.R.S all have a really good feeling behind the music, weather it behind the music, vocals or both. The track Ascension Of Silence sounds like Hardcore/Metalcore in the main parts of the track but the choruses have a more power/heavy metal feeling to them. This is probably what really makes them special, they seemed to have put some thought in the way they have constructed their songs.

Although they have made some done a really good job of constructing their music, there are a few things that may make people a little disappointed. Firstly its they way the music turns out, what they have in the music and how they put it together are different things. What the music is composed of is really good but the delivery is actually quite bad. There are many parts in the EP where they have tried to cram too much sound in 1 little section. This is probably the biggest let down and really disrupts the whole mood of some of the tracks. The biggest impact is evident in the track S.T.A.R.S. It starts and stops all the way through. The outcome of this is that it sounds like a whole bunch of abrupt transitions between different parts. Also the vocals seem to be a little out of place. Not so much the growls and clean vocals, they are fine. It’s just those childish shrieks that seem to be out of place. They just don’t really suit their musical style at all. Also they sound like they are echoing, this also disrupts the flow of the music because the echoes carry on into where the other music should be. Although is only lasts for one second maximum. It still makes the songs sound very clustered. 

Also the breakdowns, breakdowns are usually the element that really enhances a track and because of this bands usually tend to put a lot of effort in composing a breakdown. The breakdowns here show no signs of any planning for their breakdowns. They sound very plain and just pointless. There is no sense of heaviness or anything. Also musically they don’t sound like they have put a lot of effort in it as well apart from them combining elements, its sounds a little too generic. There is nothing that really makes this band stand out from the rest musically.

Overall this is a fairly average debut EP, but it definitely has shown some innovation in the genre. There are many slight glitches with the EP but there are many things that still are worth listening to. The way they combine elements of power, deathcore, and hardcore suits surprisingly well and is definitely worth a try even if you sound like deathcore or power. I guess the really good thing about it is that it targets a really wide audience with is very important in distributing music. All the songs seem to be weighted the same when it comes to sheer brutality or heaviness, but the track The Process seems to be a bit more energetic than the other tracks but there is also a strong element of emotion in it as well. For people who like emotion I would recommend the track The Remaining Hours, although it is a musical. It seems very uplifting and has a really good progressive metal sound to it. For people who like a more power approach to the music I recommend the track Ascension Of Silence, although S.T.A.R.S is blends the elements very well I think that Ascension Of Silence does it even better. There are just some things that have a really large impact on the music and it is very generic so it has little replay ability. Overall is not bad and worth a listen to but don’t expect anything that will blow you away here. I give this a 13/20.

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