ALBUM REVIEW: Babirusa – ‘Humanoid’

Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer 

There’s a Brisbane Metal band that caught my eye, my ears and my heart recently. I had previously heard of them but for some reason, had not taken proper notice or the time to really tune in and get to know them. I am eternally disappointed with myself for being so blind to their beauty until now. Their recent single release, Catatonia grabbed me, reeled me in and held me tight. Caught in a net of well delivered Deathcore; I was hooked. So much so that I didn’t hesitate in pre ordering their upcoming album and a shirt too. I have an overwhelming feeling that these guys are going to explode even more than they already have, very soon.

Brisbane’s Deathcore darlings, Babirusa are set to release their debut album, ‘Humanoid’ on Friday August 28. With four singles from the album already being unleashed into the world, the two most recent being Catatonia and the latest single, even more brutally beautiful than the last, Dehumanised. I have an incredibly broad taste in music, but sometimes all I want to feed my music obsessed soul is some relentlessly heavy Metal, drilled directly into my skull. Babirusa feed that desire perfectly with their guttural, boar-like growls, drilling blast beats, heavy breakdowns and a sound that is darker and deeper than the blackest midnight sky and the deepest depths of the ocean. 

Babirusa features five talented musicians: Rheese Peters – Vocals, Kyle Williams – Vocals, Tate Senhenn – Guitar, Dean White – Guitar and Rangi Barnes – Drums. The double up of vocalists gives Babirusa something that I really love, the way that Kyle and Rheese bounce vocal duties from one to the other and sometimes charge ahead and both go at it at once gives so much depth and movement to the vocals, lyrics and raw emotion behind them. The drilling cacophony of instruments behind them in every track only compliments and highlights this vocal sharing even more. And Rangi, those blast beats, they make my heart beat faster every time I listen. Last time I saw Rangi playing drums was with Pandemic at Crowbar a couple of years ago and I mean, he was great but who knew he could play like THIS!? He’s a machine of a drummer. And the sounds that guitarists, Tate and Dean get from their instruments make it seem as though they are a natural extension of their bodies, seemingly effortlessly with fingers bleeding pace and aggression. 

‘Humanoid’ is a concept album, as the band explains: “Humanoid is focused around the story of a central character, known as 343, and his journey between reality and the cybernetic world. As he is pushed and pulled through a series of events involving a sinister artificial intelligence, 343 is left to ponder his own existence and what it means to be human.” The album commences its story with the first track, 343; an introduction to the main character. The music bounces in and out of your earphones, all instrumental at first until you hear a robot-like voice come in, the voice of someone questioning if 343 knows who he is. Track two is Desolation System. Aggressive vocals, riffs and drums from the very first second. No time for delay, this is Babirusa in all their glory. I have used the term ‘drilling’ a few times already, but that’s really what it feels like; a drilling of sounds that leaves a permanent impression in your mind. Desolation System was the band’s debut single and was the very beginning of their cult-like following. For dedicated fans, the guys have their Facebook fan page, Babirusa Pigposting. Desolation System also comes with a music video that blares flashing lights in unison with the music and shows the band in their element, embodying their roles, instruments and vocals with complete dedication and passion. 

The title track is next. Humanoid begins again with the robot-like voice, with delicately strummed guitar behind it before breaking into another raucous delivery of sounds. Recently released Cataonia is next. The vocals on this track are just so devilishly divine, I love how Rheese and Kyle masterly contort their voices into such guttural growls and squeals. This one also comes with a music video that compliments the song, it was filmed, directed and edited by Kyle which I asked him about in a recent interview: “I shot and edited all of the music video during quarantine, driving to each member’s house to film their parts, it definitely made the lockdown go quickly editing that clip for about a month.”

Onto Reflection. This one is a stand out track for me. It begins with ethereal sounding guitars and slowly builds as the drums and double kicks hit you, guitars wailing now. This one takes the album to a whole new level. Again with robot-like voices explaining more of 343’s journey. 

Pendulum Swing begins with a long, deep growl that sounds like it was born from the gut of the devil himself. Resistor is fast paced with vocals reminding me of one of my favourite Melbourne Melancholic Death Metal vocalists, Alex Hill from ÂME NOIRE. And the guitar work in this song is just out of this world. As it comes to an end, there is almost an evil circus sounding bounce to the music as it fades away and into the next track. Abomination eats away at you from the moment it begins and I love the lyrics to this one: 

“…Mind shattering madness
Sleight of hand, ravaged beyond belief
The incestuous breed of misery
The anomalies are buried deep
Escape has never been so vital
Clinging to life in the wires
Human freedom has been concluded
This existence is denial
Paralyzed as light enters their eyes
Immersed in a loop of their demise
Screens flash vividly to ensnare their rancid minds
To be mentally sterilized and pushed aside
Skulls torn open wide, their contents petrified
Ripped from the inside, leaving them as empty husks to die
Contents petrified, ripped from the inside
Leaving them as empty husks to die…”

Abomination slowly echoes in and then relentlessly drives into your ears with all the boar-like squeals that only Babirusa can deliver. As explained in a recent press release, their name, in case you were not already aware ‘is a boar-like animal. In rare cases, the tusks of the Babirusa can grow in a way that penetrates their own skull and pierces their brain, ultimately killing the animal. Babirusa believes that this animal’s genetic flaw is a perfect metaphor for humanity – slowly growing until we inevitably kill off our own species – our own demise at the hand of our own technological evolution…’ 

Dehumanized Populace blasts in next and ends with another impressive long growl whilst an echoing church choir like vocals harmonize over the top. Now the album rolls into its closing track and the ending of the story and journey of 343. ZeroHour combines the frantically fast paced tracks and the more measured melodic tracks into one. An ending that completes the ten track concept album immaculately. 

Babirusa’s debut album, ‘Humanoid’ is set to be unleashed this Friday, August 28, 2020 and is bound to shoot the band into even higher ranking in the world of Deathcore and no doubt gather even more dedicated fans. Physical pre-order bundles are available HERE and digital pre-orders/pre-saves are available now HERE + HERE

Don’t rest on this one, order your copy in the format of your choice and some of their wicked merch right now. 

Read our recent interview with Kyle Williams HERE

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With thanks to Collision Course

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