Friday, September 7, 2012

haarp - Husks

So, as you may know, I enjoy me some haarp. I've written about them multiple times and they were my no. 8 album
 in 2010.

Here, we have their newest full length, Husks.

There's three songs total: "Deadman/Rabbit," "Bear," and "Fox." I didn't Google the lyrics, and you generally can't understand them. I didn't pursue clarification. Somehow this anonymity seemed more respectful.

They're in the same tuning as before: C standard-- well below standard tuning, and, in my mind, the perfect doom/sludge/stoner tuning. Low enough to be badass, not so low as to be muddy noise that suggests one trying too hard.

Front line: frankly, these could be outtakes from The Filth.

They're long, and although sludge is the best overall descriptor of the sound, "slowed down death metal" still works the best. These are songs with very slow riffs and vocal lines-- not single-note melody lines like sludge generally uses....

haarp, to me, is this:

a guitarist who loves death metal riffs, coupled with a drummer who worships John Bonham --particularly "When the Levee Breaks"-- using a vocalist who loves hardcore but finds it isn't intense enough for him....

"Sludge" is the best descriptor for this (i.e., if you like sludge metal, you'll like this), but it's really somewhere inconveniently-situated between death metal and sludge/doom.

"Deadman/rabbit" is the first track, nearly 18 minutes long, a detuned, raspy-vocalled, minor-chorded lament of... something...?

"Bear" continues this unadulterated intensity, over its 9-minute length (the "single" of the album...?)... and closer "Fox," at 12:06, finishes this C standard death-metally trudge from the Crescent city... and at nearly four and a half minutes we get an ugly, wicked-slow trudge of a riff, like an outtake from an Asphyx album, one where Martin van Drunen rejected the "movement" for being too slow and relegated the piece to the "bonus" section of some Asphyx/ Pestilence DVD....

Bottom line on Husks:

did you like The Filth?

You'll like Husks.

There's no appreciable evolution over that album... it's almost like the concept album version (though I frankly missed the overall concept) of The Filth. It's the burning fury of great death metal (like, say, early Cryptopsy or Asphyx), but burning as slowly as it can, without actually igniting-- with the resultant tension adding to the overall experience in an (ironic?) way like tenor sax great Lester Young, who reportedly routinely defeated reigning tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins in head cutting contests by simply suggesting an adequate key resolution, rather than actually sounding the note your whorish ear needs to feed back up to your cerebellum....

Jazz in the new century sounds nothing like I thought it would....
[Husks is released Sept. 18, 2012 via Housecore Records.]


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