The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed Wolverhampton band Husk appearing to a positive response on ThisIsNotAScene before when they supported Soulfy at The Slade Rooms last summer. It’s taken the best part of a year but their debut EP “Plague of Man” is now ready for release and should be available when the band return to the stage as part of Midlands Metal Crusade IV at the end of May, so how does their energetic live sound come across in the confines of the studio?
Quite well actually, the opening piano-led instrumental ‘Mortuary’ leading into the pummelling ‘Absolution’ with all the ferocity of a hungry lion having just spotted a jeep-load of tourists. Sounding a little closer to Trivium than they did onstage, it’s all double-bass kicks and growled vocals until the more melodic chorus, bass flurries and a huge beatdown that comes in near to the end of the track. To be honest, it’s nothing you probably haven’t heard before but there’s a hunger here, an energy that simmers just below the surface that you know is going to pay off.
In ‘Confessional’ the band come into their own a little more, delivering a groove and technical ability that is more in line with what they displayed onstage last year. The clean, melodic vocals that back up Bob Taylor‘s guttural bellow seem a little incongruous – as they will again – but the track nicely demonstrates, when all the instruments lock together, what accomplished players Husk are.
‘Black Mirror’ continues in that chugging groove, combining a sweeping intro with a heavier verse more successfully, as does ‘Unearthing the Rapture’, albeit with a thrashier vibe. However, the clean vocals in this track don’t sit very well, the song losing some of its intensity that it struggles to get back. The closing title track has a very modern Machine Head vibe, especially during the intro, that leads into an explosive vocal performance from Bob Taylor and some thick guitar riffing that sounds as savage as the vocalist’s throat. Again, though, the ill-fitting melodic vocals sound forced and totally unnecessary in what is otherwise a monster of a song.
“Plague of Man” is a little rough around the edges and hopefully more polished works will follow but as a debut EP it offers a glimpse of a homegrown metal band with the songwriting and technical ability to move on to greater things if the right opportunities allow. There are niggles here, mostly with the clean vocals not adding anything and undermining the brutality rather than complementing it, but there’s room to grow and smooth these things out. Overall, though, “Plague of Man” is a pleasing listen and whenever you’ve seen a band live and enjoyed what they do it’s always nice to have something to play at home, so go and see them live, buy the EP and support some fresh UK talent.