Album Review: The Last Felony - "Too Many Humans"

The press release that accompanied my copy of "Too Many Humans," the upcoming album from Montreal's extreme metallers The Last Felony spends a great deal of column space talking about how the band is ahead of their time and will revolutionize the Montreal metal sound. While I hate to be blunt, I don't see it.

Montreal has exploded in the past two years faster than any other metal scene in recent memory. There has been nothing short of a deluge of all types of metal coming from the great white north, and it's already becoming easy to find bands will who melt in to the annals of metal history as a mere footnote. It is my fear that The Last Felony will recede into the miasma.

One of the general issues I have with this particular brand of extreme metal is that for all the talk of progressing and redefining the genre, it seems progress has been slow. Everything is purported to be faster, more intense and more brutal. Yet, they still all meld into a solid cohesive slag. There is a limit at which point blast beats can't become decipherably faster, and can't get any more prevalence in the final mix. If it's true that types of music can effect the listener's biorhythm, this "wall of noise" style extreme metal puts me to sleep.

Someone I once knew who was a fan of the genre tried to explain to me through musical theory how extreme and black metal related to the classical music style known as "minimalism," and the music was metal's attempt at uniformity of sound. I don't think he was totally off-base, but I think he may have either been seeing something that wasn't there, or overestimating each band's musical acuity or ability.

Speaking specifically for the Last Felony, with an album titled "Too Many Humans," and songs like "We Are Future Housing Developments for Maggots," an unsuspecting listener might be duped into believing that the album has some kind of impossibly macabre sense of humor. If it does, it's impossible to tell. There is not a single intelligible word from beginning to end, so any ironic or comedic sense is lost.

This could just be me not being a fan of the genre, but The Last Felony appears to have only have two speeds: blistering and not quite blistering. There are some flavorful bits in songs like "No One Would Notice if You Died," and "Quandary" where you can hear the intricate musical layering with incorporated guitar, but that only comes in pieces. Other than that, any instrument other than the ubiquitous drum kit is difficult to distinguish. On the occasions when The Last Felony does temper their ferocity in favor of something more tuneful, it is without exception the same basic cadence and time signature each time.

Musically, it's all technically very proficient, but as a listener very drab. If this is up your alley, why not add it to your collection? If not, this won't change your mind.

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