Written by: MAK on 03/08/2016 14:30:03

Harm/Shelter consider themselves to be ”five guys who hunt together on a path to hardcore heaviness”. The Gießen, Germany-based hardcore outfit formed in 2011, and after several lineup changes early on, they released a first demo the following year. The Germans then grew a decent live reputation over the next couple of years before releasing their EP, “The Evil Within”. Naturally, Harm/Shelter gained more attention from labels as a consequence, and soon signed with BDHW which has now released the band’s debut album, “Paycheck”.

The Gießen lads deliver a brand of hardcore that blends nicely with rap-style vocals in the vein of Deez Nuts and Warhound. Harm/Shelter has that same type of ghetto swagger and two-step grooves that Deez Nuts are renowned for, but the Germans also unleash a beatdown brutality that harks back to what Warhound throws in every now and then. “Paycheck” is a release packed with lots of positive energy that makes you want to dance around, yet that is counteracted with a barrel of aggression that will ignite a shitload of violence in any venue.

Tracks such as “Suppression” and “For the Low” are prime examples of using both styles in one song; in fact, the structures are somewhat similar. Both start with half-time beats and two-step rhythms in the intro and verse, before the breakdowns kick in to unleash hell. The latter of the two just stands out more by boasting better riffs, shout-outs, and rappy vocals that are somewhat similar to Grove Street Families. Another similarity to Grove Street Families is the use of a hip-hop interlude piece, “Vom Schatten ins Nichts”, slotted into the middle of the album to break it up a little. The track is short and full of German lyrics that I unfortunately can’t understand. The odd thing is that this is followed by an instrumental track called “Interlude”, which is laced with more hardcore riffs and is used as a form of intro that leads into “D.F.T.R”. It would have made more sense to split these interludes up to really break the album down.

Speaking of though, “D.F.T.R” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, short-lived though it may be at less than two minutes. It’s easy to notice the strong resemblance to Warhound’s rappy metallic hardcore, as even the vocal tone sounds similar. “Gomorra” and “Judgement” follow the same trend of keeping the back half of the album heavier — but not overly brutal; just enough to create some chaos. “Mindcontrol” finishes the album off as the longest song and the only track that makes it past the three-minute mark. It incorporates everything we’ve heard on the album: the two-step grooves in the verse, metallic hardcore riffs in the chorus, and an all-out beatdown bridge and conclusion to the album.

“Paycheck” is a nice nod to some of my favourite hardcore artists, touching on the old school 90’s New York scene, and also on some slightly more modern adaptions that mix in hip-hop as well as metal. It’s a nice blend of fun and heavy, enjoyable and angry at the same time. The only real downfall is that the album is over too quickly at just 26 minutes, but I suppose that is just following the traditions of hardcore songs being short.


Download: For the Low, D.F.T.R, Gomorra
For The Fans Of: Deez Nuts, Warhound, Grove Street Families
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 03.06.2016
BDHW / Soulfood

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