Title: A Briefing on The Human Condition
Following their 2020 full-length Acting from Remote Satellites, NJ/Upstate New York—based Hundreds of AU return with an EP of sorts in A Briefing on The Human Condition. I say of sorts because while these songs function as a record in their own right, the intention is for them to form part of a split 12” in 2022 on Zegema Beach Records.
Those with a keen eye on the screamo/skramz scene should be well aware of Hundreds of AU by now, or at least the bands their members used to play in: Hell Mary, The Assistant, You and I, and In First Person to name a few… But for those new to the band, you can expect blistering speed and intricacy interwoven with moments of soaring beauty, all delivered with the palpable passion and desperation you come to expect from these genre tags. That’s not to say they have nothing to offer those more familiar with this sound, where Hundreds of AU seem to set themselves apart is in the cosmic themes and aesthetic present on their releases so far. Not to say that there are many moments of space rock across the four-piece’s catalogue (especially on this release), but the band’s occasional epic tendencies could reasonably remind you of prog-influenced post-hardcore a little more than most bands of their ilk.
Opening with “100 Year Test”, a tension-building intro leads to a scrappy screamo chaos before settling into the kind of groovy technical riffing that wouldn’t be out of place on a song by The Fall of Troy. “Objective Party” begins with restrained melodies before bursting into furious blast beats and screams, this track once again uses restraint to make the latter moments of carnage all the more impactful. The begging desperation of the clean vocals on “Afloat” almost make the emotional peak of the record, while “Ancestor Reality” does its best to be the most chaotic piece. The final track “Return” is a more sombre affair, allowing simple guitar lines to build and build to an aching climax before again the instruments fade away concluding the EP.
This EP proves that even if Hundreds of AU don’t have a full-length run time to explore the possibilities of their sound, they can still produce an awesome set of songs that would surely be a hit with fans of whoever the split record ends up being with.