For Fans Of
Sometimes the shirtless, macho, tough guy hardcore sound works really well, and sometimes, like Windows Vista, it just fails miserably.
In terms of the new Harm’s Way album, ‘Rust’ seems like a fitting title when you think about it. Something that was once new, shiny and enticing now seems old, faded, and like it could fall apart at any moment. That could be applied to most genres, but it fits the hardcore realm rather accurately. However, amidst a sea of will-be bands and has-been’s, Harm’s Way feel fresh, they manage it all really well, and they keep their heads above water for the whole of their new effort. But, what of their sound? Well simply put, the band’s sound is brutal, heavy, menacing and just as abrasive as Christopher Pyne’s stance on education fees.
In terms of instrumentation, the chunky, metallic guitar riffs spill over your ears in a wave of noisy distortion, the harsh and aggressive hardcore tone and gruff vocals are familiar yet they’re never grating, the pummelling breakdowns are heavy as all fuck, and the massive grooves will have your neck bobbing like in all manner of ways. ‘Law Of The Land’, ‘Disintegrate’ and the slick back-to-back special of ‘Hope’ and ‘Cremation’ all live up to these elements. They help the bulk of the album stand out and this means that it doesn’t die away in a timid, shy fashion like so many other releases.
Interestingly, the five-piece rarely ever go for speed and breakneck rhythms in the vein of bands like Nails or Converge. They would much rather hurl crushing sonic hammers at you until you beg for mercy and a quick, honourable death. Case in point – every single breakdown. Holy shit, those breakdowns, son. This is on par with what bands likes Hatebreed and Earth Crisis did back in the day when it was still cool and not beaten into the ground so relentlessly.
Now, while the album as a whole is great, there are a few songs that deserve that extra special mention and a gold star next to their name.
Opener ‘Infestation’ is a sharp, menacing affair, much like that of the plot of Basic Instinct. Its final breakdown is easily the most distressing and depressing end to a song you’re likely to hear all year as La Dispute don’t have any plans for a new album at this point. ‘Amongst The Rust’ features a guest appearance from Colin Young (from Twitching Tongues) for some rather haunting clean vocals that don’t seem out of place, and the song keeps its pace fast and short, for maximum efficiency. The track also has a very similar riff to Slipknot’s ‘Liberate’ and it’s unclear whether it’s just a mere coincidence or a blatant steal. Regardless, it works really well within the framework of the song and it’s not a detriment.
Emily Jancetic lends her nuanced and soft voice to ‘Turn To Stone’ and, as expected with a band like this, it’s quite a chilling and jarring moment, but in a strange pleasant way. This track in particular feels like something that would be created if Code Orange/Adventures singer/guitarist Reba Meyers merged her two bands together.
On the Deathwish Inc. info page about ‘Rust’, it confidently states that the last song, ‘Erase My Mind’ is a “take no prisoner aural bludgeoning so heavy that it needs to be heard to be believed”. Dem be sum-fighting words. Of course it was never going to say something like “Yeah, it’s not bad” or “Hey, it’s better then a punch in the face”. So, is the track the pinnacle of heavy music that the band’s label describes it as?
Eh, sort of.
It’s a good song no doubt, and yes, it slugs along in such a heavy, poised to strike manner that it fits the final minutes of this hulking album perfectly. It’s just that it probably won’t be the be-all end-all PR would want you to think it is.
Considering that Harm’s Way had their van robbed recently (whoever did that can get fucked), do go pick up a copy of ‘Rust’ and enjoy the album for what it is – one of the better hardcore albums of 2015. Plus, you can feel good knowing that you did a good thing. Yay!
It’s heavy and crushing, it’s brutal and unchecked, it’s unforgivingly aggressive, and it takes no prisoners. No, it’s not your mum; it’s the new album from Harm’s Way. ‘Rust’ is a beast of a record and it’s bands like this that go that extra mile into the realms of what heavy music can be that really help push the envelope that littlie bit more. So make sure you…*puts on sunglasses* get out of harms way.
- Law Of The Land
- Cancerous Ways
- Amongst The Rust
- Docile Bodies
- Turn To Stone
- Ease My Mind