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Non-Human Level - Non-Human Level - 2006 - Listenable Records

Track Listing
1. Divine Creation Of Void
2. Personal Hell
3. Windows On The World
4. The Second Plane
5. Instincts
6. Journal For A Nightmare
7. Water
8. Untrustable Surface
9. The Genetic Failure
10. Freaking Goose
Fans of Darkane should find pleasure in the fact that guitarist Christofer Malmstrom is the main man behind Non-Human level, a Swedish thrash outfit that incorporates the same sort of elements from Darkane into a more streamlined yet dynamic approach. While Darkane exists on a whole new level of experimentation and hybrid melodic wonderings, this side-project features a much more widely accepted sound, never quite emerging into the realms of power metal or hard rock, but certainly using the same sort of melody based structures and groove oriented building blocks on which to lay a full album of hooks and virtuoso riffing. This is the debut album from what could or could not be a one off project, with a solid distribution courtesy of France's Listenable Records.

When Malmstrom and Darkane released "Rusted Angel" in 1999, thoughts of a solo album were entering the guitarist's mind. At the time his love of Yngwie Malmsteen was starting to become more of an inspiration to him. With that in mind he started writing a few of his own songs, at times really trying to decide which band to send them to. After finally deciding on Non-Human Level as an achievable goal he set out putting together a band. Darkane drummer Peter Wildoer pulls different duty for this recording, instead going from behind the kit to front of the stage, his voice being the perfect fit for this band's quick attack. On drums comes Ryan Van Poederooyen, on loan from the Devin Townsend Band. The album was produced and engineered by Malmstrom and recorded at Not Quite Studio in Sweden.

This full length really goes through all of the proper motions, giving and gouging with strong, ripping tracks that showcase a solid thrash backbone. Some cuts shake like Destruction, Kreator, or even Terror 2000, while other cuts rely much more on showboating riffs, allowing plenty of time for Malmstrom to shred on some outstanding melodic lead playing. His solos are very much in the neo-classical style here, obviously showing off his love for Malmsteen with these cuts.

Bottom Line - A thrash record that is very diverse in its marriage of thrash and melody. Fantastic playing from some seasoned veterans.



--EC 08.16.06
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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Non-Human LevelNon-Human Level
2006
Eric Compton8/20/2006


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