Caligari Records has only been active since 2013, but in that time the label has released an ungodly slew of excellent metal with no allegiance to any particular subgenre. Indeed, the only thread that seems to tie Caligari’s releases together is an ear for quality, and that quality continues to run over the cassette label competition, this time in the form of No Life, the second demo (first EP?) from Boston black metal bruisers Human Bodies.
Although Human Bodies are black metal through and through, their sound is thoroughly informed by the debilitating hardcore their home city is known for; there’s a tough-as-nails attitude afoot on No Life that’s way more Blood For Blood than Burzum. This isn’t black metal for sitting in the woods ruminating on your hatred for all humanity, this is black metal designed to make you want to fuck shit up in the pit. I’m not sure whether or not Human Bodies actually play live, but the twelve minutes of tightly wound violence that is No Life begs for an opportunity to get the floor moving and the fists flying.
What might be most pleasantly surprising about No Life is the excellent production. For all its ferocity, this tape is also one of the best-sounding black metal demos I’ve heard in quite some time. The clean sound actually serves to make the recording that much gnarlier; hearing every detail of Human Bodies’ assault gives one an appreciation for how crushing it really is, especially that nasty-ass bass tone. I’ve stated in previous reviews that black metal doesn’t have to sound like complete shit in order to get the point across, and No Life is a pitch-perfect example of this.
My only gripe about No Life is that it’s painfully short; I’d love to see these guys stretch out and give us a longer beatdown. That said, this six-song bruiser is still plenty satisfying and yet another in what’s becoming a ridiculously long line of wins for Caligari Records. Punk/hardcore-infused black metal is something many bands seem to be attempting of late, but Human Bodies is one of the few that actually pulls it off.