The Human Beast, originally known as Skin, was a short-lived psychedelic prog rock group from Scotland that was formed in the late 1960s. The group only released a single album during their time together, Volume One (1970), which I’ll be checking out tonight. It seems that the band was optimistic of their future together with a name like ‘Volume One’, but presumably due to poor record sales at the time, the band split apart and apparently disappeared from the music business according to the group’s biography on AllMusic.com. In recent decades, however, the group’s only album has become something of a collector’s item. Something else of note, the genre listed for the album on Apple Music is “Vocal”, and basically every time I listen to an album from the late 1960s or early 1970s listed as “Vocal” on Apple Music, I usually really dig the listening experience. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Mystic Man” starts out with some low rumbling drums that are soon joined by some really groovy guitar work with a wah pedal. Oh wow, I really dig the tone of the bass guitar, which has a sort of bright chunky sound that almost reminds me of Mike Watt. Oh wow, the track moves through another, almost darker movement that builds up tension before the band enters yet another movement that includes some vocals. The vocals almost remind me of the British psychedelic blues rock meets psychedelic folk groups like C.O.B. or The Incredible String Band. Holy smokes, the band has entered another movement with some nearly primal drums and spacey effects and feedback reminiscent of groups like Gong or even Hawkwind. Oh wow, there’s a really sweet line from a saxophone before a big crash of distortion and cymbals that seems to launch the soundscape into another psychedelic movement. I’m really digging the dynamic beat from the drums in this track. Oh wow, the track seems to have worked back around to the tension building movement from earlier before resolving back to the first section that had vocals in the song; I really dig the sweet combination from the vocals alongside the bright bass tones. Wow, great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
“Appearance Is Everything, Style Is A Way Of Living” starts out with some gentle crashing of cymbals that introduce some super groovy guitar work that I’m really digging. Oh wow, I really dig the rhythm section between the gently grooving bass guitar that sort of reminds me of Justin Chancellor from TOOL, while some low drums seem to easily coax the tune along from the background. Holy smokes, I’m really digging these meandering, flowing, easily grooving psychedelic jams, which almost remind me of tracks like “The End”, “When the Music’s Over”, and “Riders On the Storm” from The Doors. Great track.
“Brush With The Midnight Butterfly” starts out with some crunchy guitar notes that are soon joined by an upbeat, dynamic bass line that reminds me a bit of Les Claypool. Oh wow, the guitar work gradually meanders about more and picks up a bit of a British hard psychedelic blues rock feel. Holy smokes, I really dig the dynamic feel in the drums in this track, which get a really groovy, tight, psychedelic swing of sorts going. Oh wow, I really dig the way ebb and flow between more intense and mellow movements in the track. Oh wow, you can hear someone breathe in as the track seems to be at its softest point. I really dig the way the instrumentation seems to be building back up again after that softer section. Holy smokes, the bass guitar absolutely lets loose with some super groovy lines. Oh wow, the track seems to have somehow meandered back to something similar to the beginning of the song as the track comes to a close. Wow, great tune.
“Maybe Someday” begins with some soft, folksy acoustic guitar notes that are joined by some wah pedal’d guitar, which is soon also joined by a massive bass note that gently comes into the soundscape, and some light cymbals from the drums come in shortly thereafter. Holy smokes, this track has changed up to something a lot more intense that reminds me a lot of the sort of psychedelic folk style of The Incredible String Band, mixed with some progressive rock flavors. Holy smokes, the track mellows out a ton as the vocals come into the soundscape. I really dig the reverb on the vocals. Oh wow, the acoustic guitar seems to keep folksy flavors reminiscent of Clive Palmer groups while the big bass guitar grooves along with a sort of mellow psychedelic prog style. Holy smokes, the electric guitar has changed up to something reminiscent of a ballad of some sorts as the track seemingly mellows out even more. Holy smokes, the drums, bass, and acoustic guitar all seem to intensify alongside the electric guitar as the jams build up. Oh wow, the soundscape mellows back out really nicely when the vocals come back in. Wow, great track.
“Reality Presented As An Alternative” gets started with some really spacey distorted guitar sounds, which are soon followed by a tight, dynamic rhythm section in the drums and bass guitar. Oh wow, I really dig the way the bass guitar and electric guitar seem to echo each other from different octaves across the soundscape. The tone of the bass guitar reminds me a ton of Les Claypool in this track. Oh wow, the melody from the bass guitar and the electric guitar seem to have a sort of dark, almost Transylvanian sort of sound while the vocals have a sort of haunting reverberation. Oh wow, the guitar work almost seems to bring the soundscape a sort of optimistic feel at certain parts before resolving to the sort of darker, nearly spooky sound present in the track. Great track.
“Naked Breakfast” gets started with some tight, upbeat jams between the bass, drums, and guitar. Oh wow, the track enters another movement that has a much mellower, seemingly looser feel from all of the drums, guitar, and bass guitar. Holy smokes, the mellow movement seems to build up with dissonance until breaking back through to another tight, upbeat movement. Oh wow, I really dig the way the bass guitar seems to come to a crescendo of sorts, which seems to cue in the mellower movement to end the track. Great tune.
“Circle Of The Night” starts out with some bright, somewhat mellow sounds from the bass guitar and electric guitar that almost has a melody that reminds me a bit of Scottish folk music. Holy smokes, the guitar plays a super groovy classic rock and roll lick that somehow has hooked me even more into the music. Oh wow, I really dig the dynamic feel from all of the instruments in this track. Wow, great tune, and a great way to finish up the album.
Holy smokes, I really dig this album. The dynamic feel from all of the instrumentation had me hooked in from start to finish. The bass guitar had me thinking a lot of some of my favorite bass players of all time, including Justin Chancellor (TOOL), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Les Claypool (Primus), and even Mike Gordon (Phish). The guitar work reminded me of a lot of some mixture of British hard psychedelic blues-based rock, progressive rock from the early 1970s, and sort of psychedelic folk style of Clive Palmer-related bands, including C.O.B. and The Incredible String Band. Admittedly, I know very little of drums and drummers, but the drums were very dynamic throughout, and really made each song feel incredibly fresh throughout the listening experience. The vocals reminded me of a sort of British blues-based psychedelic rock meets west coast psychedelic rock from the mid-to-late 1960s, which was yet another layer to the music that kept me interested throughout the album. If you’re into psychedelic progressive rock from the late 1960s or early 1970s at all, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.