Human Services – Animal Fires

We enjoy responding to users on Facebook or the site proper.  It encourages us to write faster and harder, to get them to climax in the sense of saying something stupid so we can criticize their very existence.  So, it’s not unusual to get the occasional weirdos now and then, people that reveal the true horrors of the internet.  Where do they come from?  Have they always been there?  Yes, and they have a way to voice their meaninglessness.  They’re not even trolls, they’re just fools.  Anyway, so this one guy kept bugging us on Facebook.  “How about Human Services?”  “Just wondering when you’re going to get around to that Human Services?”  Human Services, Human Services, Human Services, Christ what do you want?  Actually, he only asked once about it, but it made for a funny intro, if you find this sort of thing funny.  Anyway, you would have figured that we’d have figured the guy who mentioned Human Services was probably in the band, but the neural connection was not formed until he sent us a PM asking about the status of their submission, which was sitting on the floor next to a ventriloquist dummy (seriously).  So, it was picked up off of the floor, away from that plastic entity’s hideous gaze for a listen.  Human Services come from Hampton, VA, and they’ve been around about three years creating what could someday be one of the most powerful sources of noise rock ever seen. Animal Fires features legitimate mental instability, but also partial musical instability, which isn’t totally a good thing.


Love the artwork here; if they cut and pasted this one together using old Biblical etchings, job well done.  It seems something of a statement on animal rights, or perhaps at least animals eventually ruling the world in the wake of the tragedy of our inevitable decline.  Then you’ve got these avian demons with shovels digging the last of our graves, or at least that’s how we’re interpreting it.  These pieced-together, horrifying monsters of Frankenstein serve as a nice symbol for Animal Fires in the musical sense.  Human Services do not fail in delivering this imagery through sound, at least through the majority.  “The Herd and Musth” is a complete opus of distortion, not to mention the Cliffnotes to Animal Fires, that nearly reaches the level of the necessity in using the term ‘oeuvre’ when speaking about it.  For those of you who don’t feel like looking that up, this means that Human Services is on the path to creating a true masterpiece of noise rock with crossover elements, but they’re not entirely there yet.


When Animal Fires hits hard, it’s lifelong damage.  That opening track is the wow to our OMFG.  The vocals melt through effects that give a decayed presence, and the music has a hint of the raw with fragile texture.  Think of combining classic Goth with a crusty form of doom.  When these guys tear, they tear the life from you.  They reach deep into your being and leave an angst-engulfed husk of nothing.  Problem is the back end of Animal Fires can lag, almost falling apart on a few occasions.  Human Services occasionally dip into lighter rock, generally speaking, mixing in avant-garde experimentation.  This is, in itself, a welcome addition, but it’s presented in a disjointed way.  The experimental tracks serve as almost interludes, in fact, and aren’t fully utilized within the beefy selections.  Perfect example is the transition going from the opener up to track three, “Down to Your Last Goat”.  The build up of random sounds turned into organization is suddenly broken by bar rock, but then Human Services gets to the chorus and hot damn there it is.  Those screams, that breakdown of riff into controlled chaos, those drums belting into your head, it’s perfect.  That’s the strange thing about Animal Fires, the tracks that falter hit the ground hard, but then Human Services is up and swinging at you like it never even phased them.  The sounds that diverge from their noisier approach are, at best, a 3 or 3.5 if scored separately, but damn son, those power tracks, when they hit, they’re enough to keep Animal Fires blazing.  Human Services have some stellar work here, it just needs some more consideration for an overall approach in the future, because at times it can sound too displaced and experimental for its own good, without any real integration of these elements where it needs it the most.


Human Services Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Human Services – Animal Fires
4 / 5