Harvey Milk: A Small Turn of Human Kindness / Hydra Head

Agonizingly slow, ambient, funeral style experimental doom, with wailing vocals. I mean that in a very, very good way.

A Small Turn of Human Kindness is almost laughably heavy at times with distorted chords sustained over measures upon measures of crawling, grim doom. Metal of this kind that is lyrically driven is nearly unprecedented with the exception, perhaps, of Eyehategod. The most distinctive part of A Small Turn is that the decidedly nihilistic lyrics are howled with a great degree of clarity from vocalist Creston Spiers, as opposed to EHG where Mike Williams’ screams are cloaked in generous amounts of fuzz.

Harvey Milk are noisy, as most experimental bands are, but they afford a lot of space for the vocals to be delivered. All of the songs are so simple and slow with little that distinguishes the music of one from the next, save a few dark melodies. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard multi-tracking of the guitar parts at the very end of track five, “I Alone Got Up and Left.” On the next track, “I Know This is All My Fault,” the album takes a slightly progressive turn with a keyboard part that sounds like something from a ‘80s horror-movie that morphs into a poignant and tentative piano ballad. The last track “I Did Not Call Out” returns to guitar driven doom with a more powerful, dare I say triumphant, feel.

A Small Turn is one of the most unique offerings of its kind this year. It is ambient, dissonant, and supremely crushing with uncommon use of vocals and lyrics. If you like depressing music once in a while, it does not get much better than this.

In A Word: Dismal