EUJENICS – Humanism

eujenics epNearing the end of 2014, The Creep Void released their ‘Elevation of Idiocy‘ EP. The band’s second – and final – release, its featured tracks were head and shoulders above anything on their ‘Apothesis’ album from 2012. With a decent production and some great riffs, it promised even more for their third release…but the band broke up, leaving such promises unfulfilled.

Guitarist Chris Hanna resurfaced as a member of Eujenics in 2015, a new band who quickly scored support slots with Dead and also gained support from BBC radio. Although a little different to The Creep Void, when listening to their 2016 debut EP, ‘Humanism’, it doesn’t take long to work out why the sparks began to fly at such an early stage: they come with ridiculously huge riffs. ‘Eviscerate’ kicks off with a real intent, as bassist David Scott cranks out a huge tone from his four strings, a sound that doesn’t even retreat when covered by an equally big and muddy downtuned guitar riff. Musically, it seems like a logical continuation of Hanna’s work with The Creep Void in that the riff is king. Those looking for more than a riff, however, may feel a tad short changed. The heavily treated vocals – courtesy of Nic Wood – aren’t always especially melodic. Sometimes this works well for the band, as is the case as he belts the title with real venom, but during the verses, most of the lyrics seem swamped by the aggression within the band. ‘Culled’, in particular, has a crunch that’s clearly designed to win over live audiences; the bulk of the song has an almost grungy sense of attitude, but is often stopped from being too sludgy by intermittent funk interludes. …And it’s the funky edge we hear first, with a big and fairly self-assured introduction. As with ‘Eviscerate’, the (audible parts of the) lyrics are perhaps a little repetitive and the track would certainly be more effective if it were truncated by about a minute and a half, but even so, each of the band members showcases their art well enough: Hanna shows that even working with different musicians, his love of a fat riff will often win out, but, again, bassist David Scott arguably steals the show with a huge tone and aggressive approach to his instrument.

The arrival of ‘Kalashinikov’ ushers in an even bigger bass sound than before – against the odds – which when combined with a confident riff overlaid with a slightly more thoughtful lead shows Eujenics in a much stronger light. This is especially true when dropping into the verse, finally offering something a little quieter, showing a previously untapped and more restrained side to Nic’s performance. Here, instead of belting his lungs, fit to burst, he emotes in a way of a man who sounds like he’s close to tears, only to be rescued by an emormous post-grunge riff in the nick of time. As the track progresses, we’re given a truckload more post-grunge hugeness, only this time topped off by vocals that veer towards post-hardcore shouting. It’s lacking a decent chorus, but everything else is stellar. Although they often fight it, Eujenics prove they can do something more varied, something with a little light and shade – they just don’t choose to! This is a great five minute cobweb blower, especially if you value a crushing riff! Last up, ‘Meniscus’ – released to promote the EP – takes Eujenics’ preferred approach and shoehorns in a few unexpected harmonies, a more evocative lead guitar part and (at last) a more melodic chorus hook. Perhaps a little closer to The Creep Void’s better material, this combines crunch and melody in a no-nonsense fashion.

For those looking for bottom end riffery and anger over subtlety or anything too complex, these numbers should appeal. For a DIY band, the production values are strong, too, just for the band to take things to the next stage, a bigger focus on choruses – a la ‘Mensicus’ – seems somewhat necessary. As things stand, it’s seems clear that these sounds would work better in the live setting…but, then again, some of the extant early live footage shows a clattering fury of sound with an unhinged frontman, so the jury’s out. Time will tell.

January 2016