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Human = Garbage: an Unrelenting, Psychedelic Nightmare

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments


by Kyle Kessler

What is the most depressing album you’ve ever heard? If you were to ask most any crust punk they would tell you immediately: Human = Garbage. The title says it all for this compilation of split EPs and singles from the seminal Oakland-based crust/sludge group Dystopia.

From beginning to end, this record is an unrelenting, psychedelic nightmare exploring themes such as anarchism and the impact of capitalism and inequality on the lower-class human psyche, animal liberation, torture, suicide, love, drug addiction, and an unforgiving hatred of the status-quo. Dystopia melded the punishing beats and agony of crust punk into the dark psychedelic style of sludge and doom metal, utilizing noise and sampling to create desolate soundscapes wholly representative of internal turmoil and pain.

The impact that Dystopia has made on modern extreme metal is unquestionable. Dino Sommese (now vocalist for the legendary NOOTHGRUSH) played double-duty on drums and his signature agonized screams alternating with those of guitarist Matt Parillo (Mindrot, Kicker). This album is an absolute must-own for those that can handle the psychological stress of listening to it.


Record collectors have coveted the few remaining copies of the original pressing, which only included six songs out of the twelve released on CD in 1994 by now defunct label Life Is Abuse. The Bay Area based punk/metal label Tankcrimes stepped up to the plate to re-release Human = Garbage as a proper remastered 2xLP with all 12 tracks found on the CD release and a 7×7″ lyric booklet, a rare treat for fans since the singles and the original pressing were running upwards of $50 in G+/VG- quality. They pressed a limited number of this version on clear vinyl, so come get them while you can. Once they’re gone, they’re likely to be gone for good.

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