The continued proliferation of human beings on this planet and the subsequent rise of species-ism has created an ethical crisis like no other. What would the planet look like if we as a species hadn’t procreated so continually? What is the point of such a gross expansion of civilisation? Why should all other creatures suffer the impact of such selfish and ego-driven domination? And what about the inter-species ethical issues within the Animal Kingdom? Who are we to judge?
Animal Ethics from Montreal, Quebec drive forth on their 11 track LP, Human Riots, with a very street-credible, low-fidelity sound. Early nineties industrial and traditional hardcore recording atmospheres spring to mind as the opening track “Give In” bursts into life. The feelings conditioned by Ministry, Botch, Ceremony and Warthreat all rise to the surface and I know that I’m in safe hands. Indeed, the hybrid of influences perceived are tantalising to say the least.
The solid, driving rhythm section comprising drummer Andre Garant and Joel Humbert on bass provides dutiful nods to a long tradition of punks and industrialists, both human and machine . They form a spine for this band and a platform for the lyrical and melodic. Steady time keeping is essential in this game and these guys are solid as a rock, doubling or halving their accents for the appropriate feel and never vague.
The Animal Ethics guitars are biting and incisive, scything their way through the rhythm’s core and alerting the listener to the content conveyed within. BK Brooks and Thomas Aurele are responsible for these as they are for the vocals. A nice meaty vocal sound, a real yell, an Al Jourgensen-esque vocal delay – this is what I want from anarchic punk, and this is what Animal Ethics have given me.
The subject matter is sincerely delivered but without a lyric sheet I struggle to garner all of the lyrical content. Instead, I use the song titles to create my own meaning for the songs. To contemplate the issues that they bring to mind, guided by the aural landscape the band creates.
“Ritual Sacrifice” is an early favourite, and brings me to wonder what it is that we actually are doing at abattoirs everywhere around the world. Let alone abbatoirs, anywhere that we gather helpless, beautiful creature’s together and slaughter them mercilessly. Inspired, I recollect the international effort’s towards ending dolphin and whale slaughter by the Sea Shepherd movement.
“Riots” provides a good chanting rant. “Start a riot” is the cry and the intent is obvious. Direct action is still an important weapon for an activist to have, particularly with the slippery nature of politician’s and large corporations. If there is nothing to do then we can be content doing nothing, but can we really live with ourselves if we don’t act when action is necessary?
The short, fast and brutal tracks, to me, are supreme though: “Dead Air” (53 seconds long) and “Human Factory” (44 seconds long) provide the necessary punch to the mid-riff of this album that makes it so well constructed. By this stage I feel like I am actually at a gig, being utterly annihilated by Animal Ethics.
By the time I reach album closer, “Defibrillator” it is time to play the whole thing over again. Anarchic punk, trad hardcore, noise, industrial; you can call this whatever you like but I don’t care, it’s just Animal Ethics to me. It’s solid, brutal untarnished action by four men intent on their goal. I’ve been waiting for a band like this to review because I’ve always wanted to give something 10 out of 10. But who am I to pass judgement? If you resonate with them then listen to it, go to their shows if you are fortunate enough to be nearby. Act now. After all, how else are YOU spending your time?
Written by Scott Andrews