Harm's Way


Written by: PP on 17/06/2015 21:32:31

If it wasn't for that monstrous Torche release in February, the new Harm's Way album "Rust" might qualify as the heaviest album of the year. Constant battering of ludicrously down-tuned, bass-driven riffage ensures likely skull fracture for the faint-hearted and bruised bodies for the pit warriors throughout the little over thirty minutes that "Rust" lasts. On first few listens, the record appears extremely one-dimensional: it's heavy and brutal, but overly reliant on discordance and relentless punishment via beatdown hardcore riffs delivered with a crawling tempo. Yet it's this crushing, pulsating heaviness that has earned "Rust" its fair share of praise from critics and fans alike.

Much like the Code Orange album last year, there's a sense of something twisted and experimental happening just beneath the surface, which you're only a thin layer of noise away from understanding. The coarse barks of their vocalist are eerily reminiscent of Napalm Death's Barney, albeit a lack of variety comes into play here as they carry nowhere near as devastating a punch as Barney's cacophonic delivery. Still, coupled with the brooding, slow-tempo hardcore, the final product is nothing short of a punishing affair for the listener. Sure, there are tracks where the band floor the pedal and rush through the tracks hardcore punk style, such as on "Cremation", although here too the industrially-tuned guitars make a clear separation with other bands in the genre. Later on, "Turn To Stone" features silky soft female vocals in an attempt to create a haunting contrast to the beatdown style riffs, but unfortunately they merely give the song a gothic flavor which isn't exactly a positive vibe in this scribe's opinion. Otherwise, testosterone runs sky high, and the experimental approach allows the band to create semi-interesting rhythms out of passages where other bands would just resort into senseless breakdowns instead.

Still, the one problem with "Rust" is that it's still a little too one-dimensional for its own good. It's heavy and brutal, but what more is there really to the record? Too few standout tracks means it all blends together too easily, even if the band's expression is otherwise charismatic due to its sheer force and relentless fury. The real question, therefore, is, will you be returning to this album in a year's time? I very much doubt that.

Download: Law Of The Land, Hope
For the fans of: Xibalba, Code Orange, Dead End Path
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.03.2015
Deathwish Inc

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