Help!! I'm lost in thrash metal land and can't escape. Actually, no don't. I like it here. This week, my BS radar is pinging off the charts. It puts me in the mood for something angry that I can share with the neighbors. It puts me in a place where I need to rage internally in order to feel better....or maybe eat ice cream to feel better...no....I'm lactose intolerant and raging is so much more fun.
Harlott----”Extinction” released April 7.
There's a whole lot of truth to the phrase “seeing red”. It implies aggression, which is exactly what I felt going into the first play through, and coincidentally, what I kept getting flashes of throughout the album. Synesthesia is therapeutic at times. Onward to my teetering on the edge of odd style of opinion presentation.
Track 1) “Extinction” ....a great big wall of angry guitars and punctuated drums that grabs you by the collar and gets in your face from the very beginning. The cool thing about the emotions that I felt from this track is that it isn't all over the place chaotic. This is a solid charge forward of well constructed sonic aggression, and it makes you say “holy shit what just happened” when it's over.
Track 2) “First world solutions”....here's a chorus you can sing along with, this one steps away from being thrashy into a more traditional metal vibe...except for the vocals, he stays true to that thrash sound from beginning to end....Guitar solos are badass. You'll hear me say that a lot. These guys can fucking shred. Also, I want to know how many bass drum heads Tim Joyce goes through in one tour. Play this and you'll hear what I mean. Scream along kids "FIRST WORLD SOLUTIONS"!!!
Track 3) “The Penitent”.....love the old school metallica-esque guitar intro. It's an ear pleasing diversion to focus upon while everyone else is revving up to mow you over with a freight train of thrashy awesomeness. I appreciate that the vocals have dropped down the scale a few notes here. Andy Hudson sounds much more intimidating when he isn't singing higher in his range. For the record, if mid to later era Glen Tipton and KK Downing were in a thrash band, they would probably sound similar to what these guys deliver. I can dig it. The guitar work here is skirting the edge of an arena rock style riff. It's certainly not hard to envision this played on a stage surrounded on all sides by thousands of thrash lovers.
Track 4) “Whore” To whomever penned these lyrics, remind me to never make you angry. It bombards you from beginning to end. "Burn you fucking whore!". This ain't no love song. It has a great riff. The drums, always well executed, were a tiny bit repetitive to me, but then again, maybe that was the intended result.
Track 5) “No Past” I'll summarize it by saying I immediately got a “Seasons in the Abyss” vibe. The influences are showing. Only one knock....maybe bring the bass up just a teeny tiny bit? Still over all, a great track.
Track 6) “Conflict Revelation”....My second favorite track on this album, driving drum beats, meter changes, and some badass shredding. See? I told you I'd say it again.
Track 7) “Better off Dead”....The intro ventures outside the gates of thrash land then comes crashing back through the walls with a vengeance. It's also more proof of why I like the guitar skills in this band. Here's another crowd scream along .....“BETTER OFF DEAD!!!”
Track 8) “Violent conspirator”....A minute and forty one seconds of sheer thrash badassery...what else can I say?
Track 9) “And Darkness Brings the Light”....This is my favorite track on the album, the influences are obvious here, I can't stress enough the fact that the guitar prowess in Harlott is top notch....wait....did I hear a little Maiden-esque harmony? There is one quirk in thrash metal that always jumps out at me....that being a bass drum with little or no ring to it. It used to bug me for reasons I could never pinpoint but thanks to this song, it doesn't anymore. (Hey I told you long ago...I'm weird)
Track 10) “Final Weapon”....Legit, it made me tired. The internal rage possibilites are in great number here. Legit mosh pit territory.......maybe even see a wall of death? It's brutal. Gloriously brutal.
Track 11) “Parasite”....This could have easily been released by any of the icons of thrash....Exodus, Testament, Slayer. I love the solos, still thrashy but heavy metal flavored. The perfect internal rager after a hell week.
Track 12) “Epitaph”....Admit it, you're channeling Tom Araya. It's fucking awesomeness.......I love the little hint of an under tone that comes out in his vocals at times. I love the sense of forboding that comes with a minor key. The word “epitaph” implies an end, but pushing that aside, sonically, this is the perfect track to end the album.
I can certainly see why this album is a top ten seller on Metal Blade's Bandcamp. It's really good. Personally, I like the last half more than the first. The first few tracks seem to follow the same formula, but the last few step out of the box. I really feel that hundreds of years from now, when evolved humanity is studying music of the past, they could easily sight this album as a great example of thrash from someplace other than the bay area. Here, have a link......
It's already on my wish list.
Harlott “Extinction” listen to it, love it, and THRASH!!