Review: Human Malice – Derealisation (░░ HNW ░░ , Aug 16)

It is extremely difficult to fully describe derealization to people who have never experienced it themselves. How do you convey the overwhelming revelations of falsity that seem to transcend the bounds of and boundaries between the “earthly” senses, the profound terror that is so terrifying precisely because it is fundamentally unconveyable? The answer to this, sort of, is to approach real-world representation in fleeting slices, deliberate angles: a dispassionate description of a particular mental image, a certain painting, a short sequence of sounds. The newest release from the semi-prolific London project Human Malice (6 digital albums were released in December 2020 alone, but only four this whole year so far—including Collective Trauma on the consistently excellent Gates of Hypnos) mostly fits into the auditory realm, of course, but it doesn’t delve into repetition-haunted, self-terminating loop structures or disorienting spatial collages; instead, it forms itself into a wall, of course, if you can even call it that, a makeshift monument to a final sickly semblance of reality hand-slopped from a puddle of Beckettian mud. An unintelligible soup of contact mic scuzz and distortion buffets overhead, slashing at what skin remains with jagged low fidelity like a frigid hailstorm, but with enough zoning out the seemingly atonal layers start to crumble to a solitary tone, buried yet there, the single, zero-dimensional strand of miserable existence you duped yourself into thinking was anything more. Derealisation doesn’t feel like half an hour… more like a brief minute, or a looming eternity. Which, unfortunately, tend to be the same thing.