The magnificent, magically brutal thing known as doom metal can always take different twists and turns just as all metal can, and much like all metal the doom variant has its own special awesomeness about it that just . . . oh yeah, baby. But as with most things that start off with the best of intentions, they don’t always pan out in the best ways to some people. “Pathways” is a valiant effort of doom metal with much respect and dignity to be had, but not without some acceptable issues.
“The fuck is an ‘acceptable issue?”, “Does this guy even know doom metal?”, and “How does he know what I’m thinking?” (my personal favorite). Magic, kids. But in all seriousness and all that good stuff, I’m going to have be a nit picky bitch of a critic on this simply because it’s the truth. The Human Conditon’s very first attempt at a full length was in no way a bad album, but it didn’t meet that point to where I can say I enjoyed it or I’d definitely go back for a second listen. The main problem I’ve with “Pathways” are the sound of the vocals and the rest of the band, especially in the “heaviness” department, coming together. They just don’t click in the way that they should when their combined sound hits my ears, and while it’s nothing I’d call awful because otherwise I wouldn’t talk about it in general, but it absolutely needs some work. On the other hand, independently their individual sound is pretty fucking solid if I do say so myself, and it shows that The Human Conditions clearly has its brain wheels turning and working properly, but when it comes down to mixing the sound of the band with the smoother style and the excellently delivered lyrics, that have a deep theme all about them, these Englishmen seem to still have a little bit of work to do. A very “acceptable issue” – one that is easily understandable as many bands go through it and can be easily remedied given the proper attention from the band.
All things considered, The Human Condition have given us an overall solid slab of emotional doom metal that has its flaws, but nothing too drastic. “Pathways” is interesting if you want a heavy album in terms of music and theme, and shows that The Human Condition can prove to be very, very interesting given a bit of tweaking.
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