“Some call it a conscience, maybe you wonder where yours went, you’re lost in the darkness, don’t you wonder where you’ve been,” sings Dark Below’s Josh Campbell amidst the start of a surprisingly melodic distorted deluge in “Hate Being Human,” his band’s latest single out this November everywhere alternative rock is sold and streamed. While some of his mainstream counterparts have been more than content to exploit the poppier side of this genre in the last few years, Campbell and his cohorts are taking the aesthetic – and the ethics that come with it – of thoughtful hard rock quite seriously here, and subsequently serving up some of the slickest indie thunder you’ll find this season.
Aside from his sharp lyricism in this single, Campbell’s vocal delivery contextualizes the mood of the music in “Hate Being Human” far better than any words could ever do on their own. There’s not a lot of breathing room in this master mix (which is a good thing, especially when taking into account the tight nature of the arrangement here), but there doesn’t need to be – from the vocal to the drums, bassline and back to the guitars the power up the melody to begin with, everything is meticulously designed in this song as to keep us on the edge of our seats from start to finish.
The guitar parts here are thrillingly jagged, rough around the edges and heavily contrasting in both tonality and texture with the other melodic components in “Hate Being Human,” but I get the impression that this was completely deliberate on the part of the players. By avoiding the temptation to spread the production varnish from the vocals, bass, and drums onto the riffing in this track, the band creates a fiercely indie rock nucleus beneath the layers of polish that adds to the overall intensity of the music immensely. It’s a smart technique, and one I want them to employ again in their next release.
In a live setting, I can see where “Hate Being Human” could easily be manipulated into a jam instead of a cut-and-dry slab of raw melodic thrashing. There’s nothing in the arrangement that would suggest Dark Below couldn’t speed up or slow down the beat, and in the proper venue, I think these guys would likely feed off of the crowd’s energy enough to make any part of the composition just a little more vibrant for the stage.
SMART URL: https://onerpm.link/hatebeinghuman
While I was only just recently introduced to the music of Dark Below, I’m already eager to hear more from this hard rock syndicate. The songwriting is ace, the guitars are as groove-laden as the drums, and though perhaps not quite as brutally antiauthoritarian as some of the other alternative acts making huge waves in the American underground this year, I don’t think Dark Below has to prove its alternative cred to anyone after the release of this new studio recording. “Hate Being Human” speaks volumes about the artistry of the three players in this band, and what they plan to do with it in the future.
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