Tapered Limbs of a Human Star

Yup, I think we found the Queen…

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Label:  Anthropic Records

So, Tapered Limbs of a Human Star is a pretty fucking out-there album title, and Philadelphia’s avantgarde dark metal powerhouse Hivelords double down on the esotericism via a series of cryptic song christenings (“Soothsayer Worm,” “Vessel,” “Begotten Grimoire,” “I Climbed the Highest Dakhma to Find It”) and epic lengths (10:14, 9:42, 7:07 and 11:24, respectively), setting the metaphorical table in such a manner that only a full-blown mystical experience could possibly live up to the expectations of those enticed to sample the aural feast served amidst its sprawling, seething soundscapes.

And, happily, a full-blown mystical experience is precisely what Tapered Limbs of a Human Star delivers, stitching together disparate extreme metal organs and flesh into a semi-recognizable monster as harrowing and grim as it is beguiling and strangely uplifting. Hivelords’ various members stay busy in the offseason—performing in such venerated and equivalently sick outfits as Tombs, Crypt Sermon, Surgeon and Sadgiqacea— and that constant creative churn in and outside of the confines of the band seems to have engendered an atmosphere wherein transcendence is the rule, not the exception, and aural bludgeoning can paradoxically open pathways in the mind to epiphanous meditative states.

If the brilliant 2013 offering Cavern Apothecary brought devotees of smart-by-way-of-pure-brutality metal to the edge of the rabbit hole, Tapered Limbs of a Human Star gives us a good, solid shove into the beckoning darkness below. Watch out for the white bunny with pink eyes in the pit…

—Shawn Macomber
Review originally printed in the November 2015 issue (#133).