Bart M. : 'Mankind's Worst To Know' is the first EP by Belgian quintet Our Common Sense (OCS). They once started out as an instrumental project fueled by their love of music, but OCS grew from the trio that began their story to a quartet and were finally joined by a fifth member, who added his vocals to the instrumentals. Because the different members brought different influences and interests to the drawing table the album that was the result of their efforts is not very easily labeled.
Opening song 'Medusa' starts out as a very sludgy kind of heavy metal, with powerful riffs that bring about a nice, heavy atmosphere that persists throughout the album. The songs have a way of blending into each other and the band treats us to various interesting pieces of music ranging from bits with an enthusiastic Pantera vibe through solos that could well have had their foundations in traditional doom to Maiden-esque spectacle. All of these drenched in the wonderful, massive and dynamic wall of sound courtesy of the rhythm section - this becomes especially evident during 'Take The Shot'.
The vocals though, sound pained and dull - not in a way that entices the imagination, makes fears tangible and stirs the soul, like some other Belgian singers are quite good at. During most of this EP the vocals sound like something that is normally only given a short passage, to amplify certain emotions, and it is less pleasant to listen to for a whole song, let alone an album. As soon as Thomas utilizes grunting and growling though, things become a whole lot better and OCS suddenly sounds like an entirely different entity.
As I mentioned before the songs weave into each other in a nice and original way, sometimes musically, other times with a spoken passage. This actually makes the EP one whole thing that is awesome musically but leaves some things to be desired vocally. It is really a matter of coming to see the voice as one of the instruments and then using it as such in all its diversity.