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Human Impact's new singles drag 90s noise rock into a broken 21st century

Human Impact press shot
(Image credit: Jammi York)

When Human Impact released their debut album back in early March, the world was teetering on the brink of chaos. Though the songs on the record had been finished for months by then, they spoke of a society upended by modern life with a prescience which has since proven eerie.

That was followed by Contact – a stand-alone single, again, written before the pandemic had taken hold, which warned of the human race's vulnerability to disease. Were this band psychic, or had they just been paying attention?

Human Impact's new singles – particularly lead track Transist – continue the theme. They carry the hallmarks that made noise rock feel genuinely exciting first time around. They're nihilistic, they're dirgy, they're loud. They throb with claustrophobic unease and queasy anxiety. Their fury is precise and targeted. They're a soundtrack for a world that's fucked and doesn't show many signs of getting better. A sinking ship delivered in two six-minute songs.

There are clear comparisons in Human Impact's sound. That the band consists of ex-members of Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop and Swans provides obvious context, but there's more than that at play. There are moments where the filthy squall Big Black perfected in the 80s is replicated so faithfully you'd be forgiven for forgetting, just for a second, who it is you're actually listening to. There's clanking industrial and glimmers of shoegazey post-rock. In second single Subversion, there's the sort of deeply ambient experimentation which would make ATP's premiere naval-gazers proud. 

"Transist was from a group of songs that we recorded and mixed just prior to the current pandemic," the band say of the single. "The song is a reflection on what the world looks like as things fall apart. Our broken ideals, the unstable foundations of our civilisation, our trusting dependence on technology and our subservience to the ruling governments/corporations. The shining object held up by society that will never be realised. All creating a pressing need for change."

Human Impact: a perfect soundtrack for the age of chaos.