“Humans Bow Down pull off the mellow, pretty, brooding aesthetic rather well on their new release, ‘A Mirror.’ The music isn’t unlike middle era Engine Down; dynamics vary from dark and restrained to open and soaring, while complex melodies hold the whole thing together. They’ve got a talented vocalist who sounds a bit like Thom Yorke and all the instrumentalists are solid. For a point of reference, Conversing With Zookeepers (Anchorage, AK) would pair nicely with these guys in a show lineup. Most people would file this under emo, but it shouldn’t be confused with the hordes of copycat ‘screamo’ bands that have proliferated lately. Rather than sounding two dimensional and formulaic, this is music with depth and direction.”
—AK INK #18


“It would be easy, and a mistake, to lump this four-piece band into the Radiohead/Sonic Youth, prog-rock category. They have a lot of the same trappings, shifting rhythms and swirling dynamics, odd chords and unusual progressions, that slightly depressed feel, etc. The difference is that unlike some bands, who sound like they went to art school or philosophy class and then decided to learn instruments to express themselves, these guys sound like they knew how to rock first, with a lot of intensity, crunch, unapologetic drumming and overall force and developed their sophistication later. They have a really nice sense of dramatic build in their music and the shifts in their songs never sound cliche’d. In fact, the manage to be both effectively hypnotic and bludgeoning in the same song, with and occasional touch of early U2 verve, which isn’t easy. This is a very impressive first CD from a band with deservedly wide-open horizons.”

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“Some groups are like tigers. They like to lay low, quiet, seemingly sleeping. But if you’re a dawdling antelope, you soon find out how wrong that impression was. Take this Cincinnati foursome who bide their time in the earliest going, doing a red-herring slowcore brood like Radiohead, only to suddenly strike, gore, kill, and eat soon thereafter. Then they calm down and stalk their next victim. Once the band starts flailing, they seem a little like Seam, Bitch Magnet, and other caterwauling groups whose instruments are so loud and careening, but the vocals remain the calm in the storm. Those vocals are the job of one Steve Wethington, who, together with Chris Pennington, arranged those guitars so they are barely there one minute and OVERPOWERING and disarming the next. The rhythm section of Matt Tomlinson on bass and Chris Wolfe on drums follows these jarring juxtapositions perfectly. Be careful with this cunning beast.”
—BIG TAKEOVER #56 / Jack Rabid

“…Humans Bow Down present their debut on Phratry Records with a torrid display of sonic discipline in the indie rock vein. Their use of the studio space is well heard throughout the eight tracks the drums alone pack a mean punch that boasts of great mid-range, which typically is difficult to accomplish on a huge budget let alone a shoe-string one. I love their guitar tone that makes their minor keys seem even more laudable. The tonality and dissonance is one that would have Sonic Youth spinning their wheels attempting to mimic. Beautiful and exciting release for a very promising indie label.”


“Humans Bow Down are an indie rock quartet from Cincinnati, Ohio who play with clockwork precision -drums, guitar and bass lock together seamlessly, even when the guitars wander out into the effects soaked cosmos (which they do quite often). Guitar-wise, these guys have a thing or two in common with Kent, Ohio’s Gold Circles, Engine Down, Hum and Smashing Pumpkins, while their rhythm section borrows more from Pinback and Peter Hook (New Order). While this kind of air tight precision would normally walk a thin line between clinical and impassioned, Humans Bow Down deliver a less obvious, but still poignant and palpable, sort of punk energy. They’re allowing their music to build the dynamics rather than pushing forward with strained vocal and instrumental melodrama common to some of their forefathers (i.e. Smashing Pumpkins). These guys should be extremely proud - they’ve delivered a damn fine record that I really can’t find fault with.


“Radiohead’s career-spanning range is the easy touchstone for HBD’s engaging sound… Dynamics are the crucial element, as the band moves from spacey lushness to full-blown explosiveness, often within the span of a song… [the] vocals match the music’s serpentine structures perfectly, alternating between a laid-back malaise and a more insistent urgency… The band’s equally diverse rhythm section expertly anchors the whole affair with an intuitive grace, while the fascinating guitar interplay between [rhythm and lead] gives the album its heart and soul. Like an effective cross-breeding of Muse and Sigur Ros, Humans Bow Down have crafted one of the best local discs of the year by creating an Rock & Roll art piece to get lost in, full of emotional crevices and side-swiping melodies that creep up on you like a cold shiver”


“….The Light Wires and Humans Bow Down offer two of the strongest tracks… [off of Organelle - Various Artists]”


“With a band name like this, you have to either hope for hardcore or weird robot geek pop. Instead we’re left with Mineral-esque RAWK that reminds you why Sunny Day Real Estate meant so much to so many people. The vocals get nowhere near Eingk’s throaty rasp, but oh how you feel his pain. When the guitars get big, you won’t really care one way or the other. That’s a good thing.”


“The sound of Humans Bow Down is beautifully composed indie rock, a real gem for the music head who misses bands like Smile and Braid, and isn’t buying into the emo and _____core bands currently plaguing new music. Also reminiscent in the indie rock tidepool is a Hum influence and perhaps a nod to Thursday’s first album (off of Eyeball Records). Humans Bow Down are a refreshing reminder that this category of sound can be down without relentless screaming and double-kicks.”


“Combining icy, dark songs with emotional vocals, ‘A Mirror’ recalls the days when emo had more in common with indie than it does now with pop-punk. Humans Bow Down manage to create inspiring melodies along with dark, brooding breakdowns. Imagine the bastard child of Tool and Sunny Day Real Estate and you’re not too far off. Although it’s only eight songs strong, ‘A Mirror’ definitely feels like a full album; whether it’s the length of the tracks clocking in between four and five minutes, or the interludes between each song, Humans Bow Down deliver the image of a talented live band due to the intensity of each song.”
—SYNTHESIS Vol. 11 Issue 35


“…Humans Bow Down have been able throughout this [album] to dominate their influences to such a degree that what one is hearing on A Mirror is revolutionary - it is purely Humans Bow Down’s own style, unstymied by convention.”


“…The musicianship on this disc is more than solid, but what really sets this band apart from other[s] is the singer’s pristine voice. Check out the live show, if you’re able. Recommended If You Like: early Sunny Day Real Estate, Engine Down, Seam.”


“…an intense, expressive band…”


“Hailing from the Cincinnati area, Humans Bow Down flirt with the sort of experimental shoegazing indie-rock that might appeal to fans of The Rum Diary, Kilowatthours, Three Mile Pilot, or Mogwai. A MIRROR is the band’s first full-length album, and it’s littered with tracks that move from psychedelic grooves to full-blown, unconventional, explosive rock jams-often within the same song. This is not recommended for someone looking for a quick fix, as this one will definitely take some time to get into, but the journey there might just prove worthwhile.”