Posted on by Oran

Human Impact, the laser-precision noise-rock alliance of Unsane frontman Chris Spencer and Cop Shoot Cop’S Jim Coleman, have returned with Gone Dark, the band’s second full-length album. 

Photo – Andrew Schneider


‘Gone Dark’ is not a cry from the darkness but a shout through the darkness, a robust proclamation of resilience and opposition in the face of impending apocalypse. 

This is more of a statement about how things are going in the world right now.” says Spencer. “Things were pretty shitty before. I think things may actually have gotten a little bit worse.”

The Human Impact arsenal is more formidable than ever thanks to the addition of two more noise-rock veterans: bassist Eric Cooper (Made Out of Babies, Bad Powers) and drummer Jon Syverson (Daughters). Spencer had spent the 2020 Covid lockdown working on a cabin in the East Texas woods and would travel into Austin for informal jam sessions with the pair in the bass player’s garage. Friendly blasts through vintage Unsane songs would ultimately result in the rhythm section being fully absorbed into the Unsane and Human Impact lineups for their 2022 European tours.

Recorded with co-producer Andrew Schneider (Ken Mode, Cave In) in Austin’s Cedar Creek Studio, Gone Dark is a fiercer, tighter upgrade of Human Impact’s taut grooves, brittle guitar shards, impassioned shouts and clouds of dystopian noise.

It’s more of a band instead of me and Jim writing stuff and bringing it in,” says Spencer. “We were all looking to go with something more raw and aggressive than the previous releases. There was a real desire to capture more of what the live performances had been like. With this one, we had plenty of time to develop a full, cohesive album joining songs together with interstitial pieces more like a live performance would be. With ‘Gone Dark’ we have arrived at a place where we fully understand who we are as a band, so it’s a bit more focused and relentless.”

Gone Dark’s‘ songs emerge from a cinematic miasma of dark ambience, processed field recordings, street rants and industrial grinding. Like embers flickering from an inhospitable wasteland, Gone Dark’s nine tracks provide paths away from total annihilation, with Spencer barking “Wake up or live on your knees” (“Collapse“); “Now is the time to resist” (“Destroy to Rebuild“) and “Follow the sound … the future is now” (“Corrupted“).

It’s just sort of the modern state of being, to me. From really a human perspective in terms of us being part of the masses, all of us together as one giant conglomerate of production and taxpayer bullshit,” says Spencer. “I make a conscious effort to try to think of things in terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and what’s happening to us as a whole instead of just my stupid problems.”

The title Gone Dark comes from opening salvo “Collapse,” Spencer’s distorted yowl riding a syncopated groove, bookended by Coleman’s swirls of electronic smog. “‘Collapse’ is about the potential failure of the systems that connect us all and that we all depend on,” says Spencer. “The possibility that infrastructure would crash and we would all need to protect each other, or the people we care about. Do you lay down or motivate in the face of that type of adversity?

The sludgy and anthemic, “Destroy to Rebuild” is gnashing ode to cleaning the slate and starting anew. The industrial-tinged “Hold On” is what Spencer says is; “an expression of resistance in the face of a system that’s using convenience and expediency to pry its way into a position of control.”

Though Spencer and Coleman have only been creative partners since 2019, their friendship dates back to the grime-caked New York City of the late 1980s. “We wanted to make music together from early on,” says Coleman, “it just took us a long-ass time to get there.”

Unsane and Cop Shoot Cop initially shared a rehearsal space on Avenue B with fellow pigfuck royalty Pussy Galore and Honeymoon Killers. In early ’90s, the bands — alongside acts like Helmet, Prong, Surgery and Barkmarket — would overtake the art-fucky no wave era with a metal-adjacent churn that was leaner, louder, meaner and far uglier.

With the original line-up of Human Impact, Spencer and Coleman released their self-titled debut on Ipecac Recordings in 2020. Various singles and B-sides were collected on the limited edition, vinyl-only EP1.

Gone Dark commemorates a new era of Human Impact, a vicious, razor-sharp battery that’s road-tested, hyper-focused and totally destructive. “Jon and Coop bring an incredible musicianship,” says Spencer. “I feel incredibly lucky to be in a band with Jon. We’ve really clicked from the minute we started playing together. Cooper is awesome, and one of my best friends forever. We have a communication that I won’t have with just anybody. I can’t wait to fucking play this live.

Chris Spencer (Unsane, UXO): Vocals/Guitar

Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop): Electonics

Chris Pravdica (Swans): Bass

Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop, Swans): Drums

Oran O’Beirne 2024