Wolf Eyes - Human Animal (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Wolf Eyes

Human Animal (2006)

Sub Pop

Somewhere, hiding, in the deep, dark recesses of music, lie Wolf Eyes. Throwing any semblance of reason or song structure out the window, Sub Pop's most unique band is harsh and wholly unpredictable. Blurring the lines between music and noise, Wolf Eyes cacophonous effort, Human Animal, is nothing if not an experience.

The album begins in a dark and brooding fashion. Picture yourself, at night, in an abandoned warehouse -- inside the vast metal expanses, noise is everywhere. A clang of metal, a heavy thud and the slow shimmering of the snare drum echoing throughout, these are the sounds of "A Million Years," a song that pushes listeners to use their imagination, to fill in those blank spaces on their own.

"Rationed Rot" has just as sinister of a feel; beginning with a gradually loudening beep and a slow, gradually loudening pound to the base drum, the song moves through spats of feedback, random electronic noises and spoken word delivered with no emphasis, no change in tone.

The track becomes darker by the minute.

Electronic noises pick up in volume and frequency, those hollow sounds of a warehouse return from "A Million Years," all adding up to make for a genuinely chilling atmosphere. This is not something you'd want to listen to at night when alone in a house -- the unsettling noises really do begin to play tricks on the mind.

On the title track, "Human Animal," Wolf Eyes show a much more volatile side of the band. Thick, pulsating bass lines and thumping drums set the base on which indistinguishable vocals and wave after wave of crackling feedback sit. It's almost uncomfortable to listen to, but before the combination of vocals and feedback prove to be too much, the band slowly scales them back before building up again. The drums get louder and louder, the noises more and more random until finally it all subsides, awash in the same feedback that punctuated the track all the way through.

Let there be no mistake -- Human Animal is not, by any means, an easy listen. It is though, an opportunity for the listener to use his or her imagination. When I listened, I immediately saw, and was in that hollow, bleak warehouse. You may listen and be somewhere different entirely.

And in that right, Wolf Eyes could not have more perfectly succeeded.