Here at Metal Trenches we've discussed and looked at the musical works of some of the finest heavy and extreme metal artists that Germany has to offer. From Crematory to Defeated Sanity, Mental Cruelty and more...we've got it covered. That being said, Human Prey from Leipzig takes the cake when it comes to modern underground German slamcore. Formed in 2010 and currently performing and recording as a five-piece independent outfit, this band has released a few pieces of material prior to today's EP. But now, let's just focus our attention on that particular release.
Return of the True Kings serves as Human Prey's second EP and was released in May of 2018 through the band itself. The new release features five main tracks, with some versions having a bonus sixth track as an outro, and consists of a brief running time of about 20 minutes. Though, while it may not seem like a whole lot, the quality here makes up for the quantity. The themes of royal violence paired with the interesting album artwork was enough to catch my attention. So, without further ado, let's talk about it.
Return of the True Kings has some truly sick production value, especially for a local band like this one. Everything sounds very clear, with the guitar tones possessing that distinctively crisp core aura and all drumming samples being meticulously added to the mix. The vocal variety also gets interesting at some points, especially towards the EP's middle point.
It opens up with an instrumental track consisting of a galloping breakdown riff accompanied by some double bass kicking. A pretty appropriate start, I might add. Then, the real first song comes in the form of 'Crowned Hate', and, oddly enough, it happens to be my personal fave off this release. Along with 'Return of the True Kings', I thought the two tracks were easily the highlights of this album. I really enjoyed the groove, guitar melodies, and various breakdown sections in 'Crowned Hate', which, paired with the dark vocals, gave me some Acranius-esque vibes. Additionally, 'Return of the True Kings' really is a fleshed out composition made up of many eclectic parts and tempos. The track starts out with some tremolo picking and galloping riffs and suddenly turns into a slammy song with a ton of vocal variety comprised of pig squeals, highs, low gutturals and more. The interchangeable guitars really give it an added feel of brutality. It really goes hard, especially with that ending chuggy breakdown. 'The Faceless One' also has some intruiging vocal choices as well.
While I did like this release quite a bit and I'd say it's one of the more ambitious albums/EPs of this year, it's certainly not without a few faults. Namely, I did not particularly care for 'Ascension' aside from perhaps the slammy end part. I just personally did not think it held up to the standards of the rest of Return of the True Kings. Also, some more guitar variety, such as maybe some guitar solos or something, would've been appreciated in the long run. Aside from those little tidbits, I thought this one was fairly solid.
Despite some of its flaws and its short length, Return of the True Kings has a lot to offer in terms of substance, heaviness, and overall brutal death(core) quality, much of which overshadows the former. Sure it's not the most original EP around, but the performances and solid headbanging goodness of the slams, breakdowns, production, vocals, etc. were enough to leave me with some satisfaction in the long run. All in all, it's a somewhat ambitious trek into what appears to be pretty familiar territory.
Fave Tracks: 'Crowned Hate', 'Return of the True Kings'
For Fans Of: Acranius, Before The Harvest, Through The Eyes Of The Dead
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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