The opportunity to get acquainted with the upcoming 4th album "Arson" of the Austrian duo Harakiri for the Sky was one of the best gifts for the New Year. Being formed in 2011 by a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter M. S. and a vocalist and lyricist J. J., for the years of its existence, the band managed to release three full-length records, each of which adhered to a single style direction combining post-rock with depressive black metal. Already with the debut LP, Harakiri for the Sky managed to attract the attention of music lovers and with the subsequent releases only increased the fan base, strengthening its own positions on the musical Olympus. Having become acquainted with their new offering, I can confidently say that the band’s new album combines all the qualities for which Harakiri for the Sky’s creativity is being enjoyed so much, namely — extraordinary musicality, catchy vocal parts, skillfulness, and overall high quality of music and sound. More details are further in the article.
"Arson" is opened by the fast tempo composition "Fire, walk with me" with a piercing guitar part complemented by the harsh screaming of vocalist J. J. and the constantly alternate drums all the parts of which on the album were recorded by the well-known Kerim 'Krimh' Lechner (Septicflesh, Behemoth, Vesania). The main motive of the song, set from the very beginning by a duet of guitar and melodic keyboards, is interrupted by skillfully played guitar solo parts, keyboards, as well as instrumental interludes featuring drums and guitars.
"The graves we've dug", like the other tracks on the tracklist, also adheres to the similar principle of "overlay" that was demonstrated in "Fire, walk with me" — a lonely sounding instrument or instrumental duo performing the main motive of the composition, is gradually complemented by vocals and other instruments, creating a harmonically sounded solid piece of music.
The subsequent song of the album "You are the scars" from the first chords captures an excellent memorable core melody which prompted me to think about the leading representatives of the Swedish melodic death metal scene. Not surprisingly, this song was chosen as one of the first to be presented publicly.
The next one track titled "Heroin Waltz" is opened with an acoustic guitar solo which then breaks off by a wall of blast beat, harsh screams, and fast guitar parts. At 3 and a half minute, the composition is interrupted by a guitar break and a slowly played drum part, which gradually again pick up the previous high-speed tempo. Such an interlude later repeats itself at 8 minute and then returns all it back to the usual fast album’s tempo. Similar post-rock breaks can also be found on "Stillborn" or "Voidgazer", which, in addition, can still boast of interesting guitar parts, more typical for classic rock music.
The song "Tomb Omnia" also features perfectly intertwined post-rock with black metal, rhythmic pattern alternates, and tempo’s acceleration and deceleration which do not prevent maintaining the solidness of the whole composition.
The album completes a cover of the song "Manifesto" by the little-known, but very curious rock band Graveyard Lovers from NY. Harakiri for the Sky significantly slowed down the tempo rhythm of the composition, and also made the original vocal part, sung by Zach Reynolds, more contrasting, dividing it between two performers. As a result, "Manifesto" gives the listener a melodic part with female vocals — by the way, the only example of clean singing on the whole album, which beauty is complemented by J. J.’s screaming vocal, adding gloomy colors to the overall sound.
8-track "Arson" will fully meet your expectations of Harakiri for the Sky’s admirers. As it was said at the beginning, the album again combines the best features of the band, proving in practice the success and effectiveness of M. S. and J. J.’s tandem. The only thing, this album doesn’t have clean male vocal parts as the previous ones, so I hope that in the future this gap will be filled.
Most of the remarks towards post-metal bands, which I sometimes have to relay, are caused by the constant repeat of the majority music parts, which really do not get further development of the songs. The main composer of Harakiri for the Sky has the talent to withstand the balance between creating the atmosphere, by repeating one part with the subsequent addition of the remaining instruments, and the musicality of the whole track as a one piece of music. In the end, everything sounds unusually harmoniously and catchy, all vocal parts perfectly mix with the overall album, giving an excellent summary material that captures your attention from the very first seconds of listening.
Of course, the band also stands out for a high level of performance, and all the parts played by drummer Lechner — one of the most technical and skillful young metal musicians — only strengthened this impression while listening to "Arson".
Perhaps some will be nostalgic for more raw sound of the band's early albums — the self-titled "Harakiri for the Sky" and "Aokigahara", as the recording, mixing, and mastering was again handled by Daniel Fellner, who has previously worked on the band's "III: Trauma" which already had a more polish professional sound. But for my taste, it only helps to unleash the beauty of the duo's music in full.
Summing up all the above, "Arson" can already be called one of the best metal releases of 2018.
- Fire, walk with me
- The graves we've dug
- You are the scars
- Heroin Waltz
- Tomb Omnia
- Manifesto (Graveyard Lovers cover)
M. S. — all Instruments, songwriting, all music and arrangements
J. J. — vocals, Lyrics
Kerim 'Krimh' Lechner — session drums
Daniel Fellner — recording, mixing, and mastering
"Arson" will be released on February 16, 2018, via AOP Records, pre-order is available here. The presentation of the album will take place on February 10 at the Szene in Vienna, Austria.
Reviewed by Anastezia