Malaysian death crawlers HUMILIATION are releasing their fourth album in as many years, "Turbulence From the Deep". Taking their oppressive cues from BOLT THROWER and ASPHYX, the quintet gets all the credit in the world for their dedication, even if they should be structurally far more along the curve at this point.
What HUMILIATION does is minimalist to begin with. Simplistic chugs with only a handful of chord variations within each song, unfortunately, the whole scheme becomes more of a detriment than an attribute. While there's implied menace by focusing on slow, metrical strokes, the rugged picking and haphazard note swerves becomes redundant by the third track, "Phosphorous Shell". When you're dishing out fifty-plus minutes of the stuff, only those with shaded constitution can grow addicted to it.
Regrettably for HUMILIATION's purposes, their mission to convey the haplessness of war becomes more of a shot in the foot instead of a blare of vengeance. Their scuttling chuffs seem to go on forever, even when they toss in a speed whip now and then. On "Bachok's Invasion", the velocity is peddled as an intro before skidding back into a lasting succession of slow and mid-tempo marches.
The transitions on "Bachok's Invasion" are a bit sloppy, here and all throughout the album. Despite a good, emotional solo section between guitarists Shah and Asraf (they also shine on "Sea Denial" and "The Deadly Double") the messy songwriting becomes a chore to hang with. "Home Front" at least elevates the note pitches to prick the ears awake long to enjoy the brief grinds and moshes that open and wrap "Total War". If there's a bona fide skullcrushing moment on this album, it's the steady, PRO-PAIN-esque pounding stationed on "Order of Battle". Alas, the song was needed much earlier in the album to break up "Turbulence From the Deep"'s monotony.
Particularly exasperating Mudon's drumming. He plays decent in acceleration mode, but trips all over the place on his slow double hammers. When the songs call for heavy, panting tempos at nominal bpms, the bass drums frequently sound like wobbly cat patters. "Phosphorous Shell" and "Operation Obeo One" are glaring examples. It takes jagged thrash spikes (found only in increments) before there's full congruence between drums and strums.
Bear Bee pukes, pukes and pukes some more all over the album, yet his mindfulness for rhythm makes his one-trick-pony ralphs forgivable. Bassist Afe hangs in the pocket while everything rolls across his sturdy pulses. It's just a shame there's little else to brag about overtop him. "Turbulence From the Deep" needed a lot more attention to arrangement, execution and inventiveness, albeit kudos to the poignant acoustic outro, "Submerged at the Seabed".
War is an ugly thing for sure, but the winding point is enforced within two songs of "Turbulence From the Deep". Everything afterwards becomes tiresome reiteration.