From Monster Magnet to Exit-13 through Anodyne, it seems that everyone and your mother was involved in Human Remains at some point. Despite having only existed from 1989 to 1995, the six musician that went through the band seem to have been possessed by more creativity than three dozen more. This overabundance of ideas can also be heard in the grindcore that Human Remains used to play, and it is probably why most people did not understood them and this band remained a cult favorite to this day.
In the grand scheme of things, Human Remains was formed before Deadguy and Discordance Axis, the two most important, and directly related (stylistic speaking) band formed after their demise. Therefore, it could be easy to describe them as a mix of those two despite the two existing only after them. That’s how strange and different Human Remains must have sounded at the time. The only band that sounded a bit like them afterwards was Luddite Clone and they did not attract a big audience either despite being formed after early metalcore (Deadguy, Starkweather, Coalesce…) had become a more accepted genre.
Switching from blasting to tapping and noise interludes via groovy grind riffs à la Brutal Truth, opener Weeding out the thorns must have weeded out the listeners unprepared for such an unrelenting assault. Paul Miller’s (Burnt by the Sun‘s second guitar player on their first two EPs) growls does not care where the rhythm is, and neither does Dave Witte‘s (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste, Burnt by the Sun) drumming as it escapes with a life of its going from hyper fast blast to more twisted patterns (Human). His drum sticks only follows the guitar exactly during the noisier parts and dances with them playfully. Human Remain‘s song are impossible to predict and that is why they are still great and unique 21 years after being released.
This reissue by Relapse to celebrate their 25 years of existence as a label features demo version of most of the songs. Despite being already made available on the Where were you when compilation (sadly out of print), these demos provide a nice alternative to a shorter, and more frustrating release. The number of songs on the original pressing was quite limited (only 7) so adding 5 more makes sense for fans. Also, even if the sound is not as clean as on the album version, the performance on the demos are spot on. While listening to these demos, it is obvious that Human Remains was constituted of very talented musicians as the recording do not improve too much on what was already there. The creativity, the energy, the originality, Human Remains had it all and they proved it in their many subsequent bands. Using sickness as a hero still stays as a testimony of their early days and as a template young bands can still use to prove their skill and their desire to be more unique.