ONCE HUMAN is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California formed in 2014 by former Soulfly and Machine Head guitarist Logan Madar. On September 4 2014 the band released their debut album THE LIFE I REMEMBER through EarMUSIC Records Since touring with Fear Factory November – December on the European leg of the tour ONCE HUMAN have started working on their second album which will be released early this year!
Onto a bit of personal reflection on the band before reviewing the album I have said this a thousand times that it is fantastic to see the female gender taking into the metal scene, beside the obvious sex appeal for most,it’s personally just fantastic to see more ladies getting involved and further more fronting Rock and Metal bands from Lzzy Hale of Halestorm to Angela Gossow ex Arch Enemy and any in between, Guys do not let Lauren Hart‘s looks fool you, she is in addition to being a beautiful lady she could very easily be the future of Melodic Death Metal in general carrying the weight of it, this band actually have all it takes to do so, before questioning yes! Her vocals are that powerful! Of course not taking anything away from the other members of this band as they are a unit and put together effortlessly! Because without Logan, Skyler, Damian and Dillon to back her up we wouldn’t have ONCE HUMAN.
Onto the album track by track review!
TRACK 1: TRAIL OF TEARS (INTRODUCTION)
This is a hauntingly majestic introduction giving the illusion of a darkened forest feeling and there’s not a whole lot more I can actually say about it. At a mere 1 minute something its spine chillingly beautiful leading right into the next track
TRACK 2: GROUND ZERO
This track literally explodes fresh off the introduction mentioned above and wastes no time in doing so, it’s a beautifully composed melodic death meal feel with plenty of heavy pinches for those who are into the traditional melodic death feel this will certainly not disappoint, this also instantly shows the power of the 5’6 Lauren Hart which shows certainly don’t judge a book by it’s cover, complimented by a symphonic feel that gives this a more Gothic Black Metal feel early on!
TRACK 3: YOU C**T
This is funnily possibly my favorite track off the album, with intro lyrics like ‘I’ll Make You Wish You’d Never Been Born’ and ‘Condemed to Die, YOU C**T‘ ‘I Am Your Poison Don’t F**K With Me’ to say the least this is a monster of a track the drums are a whole new level, the solo’s the heavy hitting riffs this song is the perfect song when you wake up in a rightly p***ed off mood and just wanna smash, kill and hurt, I loved this song so much so that I gave this several listens to after writing this review because it is that well put together.
TRACK 4: PICK YOUR POISON
At this point you’d think they may start running out of steam and maybe throw a ballad or 2 in the mix right? Wrong!! The insanely aggressive riff work here is a more groove metal feel which I think is a fantastic twist it’s a nice combination of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA if they had a baby with ARCH ENEMY and CHILDREN OF BODOM, it’s a compilation of all the above with a modern twist and unique and original groove at the same time, this one is kind of hard to describe so let your ears decide!
TRACK 5: TERMINAL
Here it finally is, the long awaited ballad!! For about 20 seconds, This one had a very very original feel to it more than the rest with such a fresh feel it with a cross of the earlier MACHINE HEAD meets GRIMES which I know doesn’t seem like it should make any sense but it sits perfectly
TRACK 6: DEMONEYES
This one has a beautiful Melodic Thrash feel to it, angry, fast paced, dark lyrics this one sits right up there with the aforementioned YOU C**T this is possibly the wild card off the album and the track that will set ONCE HUMAN even farther apart from other bands in the genre(s)!
TRACK 7: DEVIL CAN HAVE YOU
Here it actually is honestly the closest thing to a ballad you will find on this album and it is well worth the wait I won’t go into too much detail with this one as it will honestly spoil it for you all! Some fantastic surprises in this one that will leave you wanting more, no questions asked!
TRACK 8: TIME OF THE DISEASE
Did somebody say Black Metal?!?! This is an earth shatteringly heavy as hell track, that is actually that heavy it almost makes the rest of the album sound like pop! key notes in this one was the drums more than anything I personally have no clue just how Ralph Alexander actually kept that going for as long as he did!
TRACK 9: I AM WAR
A clear lyrical introduction pin pointing that these are not a one note band the clean vocals in this one are as spine shivering as the introduction was in TRAIL OF TEARS, the lyrics even are beautiful and you can tell by the build up that the following track is going to blow this right out the window!
TRACK 10: THE LIFE I REMEMBER
Cuts in from the previous introduction and this does take a very different approach as you can’t really predict just what direction this is going to go, as it goes from Lauren’s sensational vocal ability from her grows and screams straight to clear vocals in the chorus from a slower pace but a much more compassionate lyrical feel, and a fantastic solo to close this off it has the symphonic cross of DRAGONFORCE and WITHIN TEMPTATION but definitely with a twist that only ONCE HUMAN can produce.
TRACK 11: SIREN
This is almost like the song that ties the last 2 together making what I can only assume a 7-8 minute track in 3 parts and to be completely honest I don’t think it would have worked as well and grasped my attention if it was as such! A great idea to break it down, as it may not have worked as tidily as one whole song!
TRACK 12: GROWING COLDER
We’ve reached the end of another review with this one and I for one hated to see the end of this! I’ve loved every second of this album. This closes the album with a cross again of literally all the above mentioned genre’s rolled into one here showing more than the others the exact influences that the band have, which I love because it’s like a thank you to all those that inspired ONCE HUMAN
If the facts that this band consists of ex MACHINE HEAD and SOULFLY members isn’t enough for you, just do yourself a favor and don’t overlook these as they are definitely a force that are not stopping anytime soon, I can’t actually give these enough credit and can’t believe they are still as under the radar as they are! But keep your eyes peeled as at this pace they will not be under for long!