HUMANERROR’s performance reputation precedes the band. Inside an unventilated, austere warehouse, the noise is palpable, the speed astonishing. Fists swing like maces, sweat flies wild, bruises are taken in stride. Enraptured, the audience doesn’t blink for 25 harrowing minutes. For the Fort Worth quintet, its live shows are nothing more than cathartic fun –– any bodily harm is incidental.
HUMANERROR won’t lie: It takes a certain amount of resolve to attend these underground, strictly DIY events. But as anyone who’s ever heard the band may tell you, it takes even greater courage to wake up and think for yourself. “I will not let my life be wasted to a world I’ve never stepped a real foot in,” proclaims vocalist Josh Green on the HUMANERROR track “Lost.”
The band’s ideals haven’t come for free. Every member has a story of alienation, especially in regard to some form of Big Religion indoctrination. Enrolled in private Christian schools for nine years, bassist Parker Howard particularly still holds a thorn in his side. Tasked with summing up his seventh-grade church history class for a final report, Howard stated, “The pastor is the only one who’s right; everyone else’s beliefs are wrong.” His pastor failed him. While Green had similar experiences with the church, his isolation took a unique form in 2008, when his mother passed away while he was a high-school senior. The loss consumed him.
Without the local hardcore scene, it’s hard to say where HUMANERROR’s members might’ve ended up. Venues such as 1919 Hemphill and Dallas’ now defunct Red Blood Club not only introduced the then-teens to one another and to diverse genres of heavy music, the places also filled the burgeoning musos with conviction and a sense of family. Most importantly, they instilled in the young men the values of DIY culture — modesty, loyalty, and support for your friends, along with staunch independence — values that still resonate in HUMANERROR’s ethos today.
Since November 2008, when the group began under the name Coin Return, the band has built its reputation by playing shows only at venues like 1919 Hemphill and Dallas’ The Phoenix Project, a spot, incidentally, that HUMANERROR helped open, playing the club’s inaugural show in August 2009. The bigger clubs are wary of booking the band, according to drummer Matt Dennard. But no matter. HUMANERROR prefers the DIY way. No one in the band wants to be a rock star, and stages aren’t even necessary. “I’d rather play on the floor with the people enjoying the music than up on a stage separated from them,” Howard said.
The transition from Coin Return to HUMANERROR was mostly nominal. Prior to the name change, the members were still fine-tuning their sound. They feel they matured in October 2009 while preparing to record their debut 7-inch. The band got friend Daniel Schmuck to produce, master, and mix Beyond The Wasteland in the sunroom of his North Richland Hills home.
The sessions were sporadic due to scheduling conflicts, but much like the band’s songs, much time was not required. Everything was recorded in a matter of hours. “Lead guitar was captured in about 20 minutes,” said guitarist Cody Faulkner with a laugh.
Heavily influenced by Swedish death metal bands like Entombed and the NYC hardcore sound of bands like the Cro-Mags, Beyond The Wasteland is a surprisingly diverse release for a supposedly clichéd genre. Songs like “Escape” combine the heaviness and ear-bleeding pinch harmonics of death metal, the urgency and abrupt tempo changes of hardcore, and the schizophrenic style shifts of power violence. The band’s ability to realize its striking technical prowess while still maintaining the force and attitude of a bulldozer is uncanny.
With the 7-inch planned for a July 8 release through Austin’s Withdrawal Records, HUMANERROR now has simpler goals in mind. A weeklong trek through the Midwest is currently being planned for August –– the band has yet to play outside of North Texas. As for Green, he’s already set his eyes on a new horizon. “It’s all about tuning down to ‘Evil,’” he said.