Review – Inhuman Nature – Heavy Steel Vol 2

We’ve never done a magazine or book review before, so Hutch picks up the title of our ‘book reviewer of the month’ as he takes a journey through Inhuman Natures tour journal…

You may or not be familiar with London crossover thrashers Inhuman Nature. Formed in 2017 out of the ashes of Hang the Bastard, the band’s line-up currently comprises drummer Simon Grubb, guitarists Ben Taylor and Mack Stray, and vocalist Chris Barling. During this Spring Steel Over Europe tour in 2022, the band was completed by bassist Jack Wilson who has subsequently left the band.  

A warts and all tour diary complied with a lovingly abstract approach provides an entertaining read. It’s not the easiest read on a computer screen. This is surely designed to be poured over by grubby hands in a paper copy, like the fanzines of the 80s and 90s. Regardless, this 70+ page account by King of Crust’s Daragh Markham, who provided bass support, of the band’s schlep across Germany and Scandinavia supported by Mortal Death and a host of local supports, gives an indication of the kind of extremities, challenges and excitement that a band on a small budget playing small venues can expect. If it doesn’t put you off touring as a band, then you’re in the right place. 

The descriptions are funny, depressing, shocking. The trial of splitting merch across band members luggage to avoid customs only to be waved through without a second’s focus seems to capture all that is wrong with the Brexit outcome. The joy at receiving proper food and beers on riders at venues across Europe is something we read of time and again, and the comparison with the lack of support in the UK is sobering.  

Tyre blowouts on the autobahn, the lack of sleep, the use of narcotics and drunken escapades, they are all captured by Daragh in blunt and honest detail. The enthusiasm of small but wild audiences brings a smile, one can picture the difference between the rather reserved UK audiences and the chaotic enthusiasm through his descriptions.  

There are some sobering moments balanced by the bizarre and hilarious. The LG Petrov memorial at the club in Stockholm, the Cliff Burton remembrance slab, and the news during the tour that the Black Heart’s Matteus had died are countered with Germanic tyre changing efficiency, the curiosity of fans watching the band eat soup and the encounter with the toilet attendant in Denmark.  

It’s supplemented by a good selection of photos which are shot in black and white by Chris and bring much of the commentary to life. Photos of grimy toilets, denim and leather clad fans clutching their merch and beers, the band in various states of inebriation as well as some of the architecture they took in are all included. It really brings the narrative to life.  

Whilst it isn’t going to win the Pulitzer anytime soon, there’s plenty to enjoy. A quick coffee table read, it’s the honesty that sticks most in an endearing, frank and genuine record of a couple of weeks that Inhuman Nature will never forget.   

Pick up your own copy of the Book on the bands BandCamp HERE

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