Release DetailsLABEL Chunks of Meat Records
RELEASED ON 9/6/2006
posted on 10/2006 By:
Harkonin make the wise decision of not having their primary influences made explicit on either their website or their Myspace page. So, while I can't take the easy way out and provide hand delivered references in this review, there are also some points in this review where I feel like I'm definitely privy to some honest, individualist, and unsigned American death/black metal.
Firsts things first, this fucker is unrelenting. And, I don't mean that in the run of the mill press-package sense of the word. Ghanima comprises nine original songs, all but two of which are longer than five minutes. And there are spare moments when the BPMs drop below 400. The riffing reminds me primarily of fellow American aggro-blasters Summon or Angel Corpse. But, more than just intense, these songs are well written and filled to the brim with riffs that reference Bathory, Dissection, Kreator, Beneath the Remains era Sepultura, and of more recent acts like Hate Eternal and Internal Suffering. They also each possess an indefatigable forward momentum. Rarely do these songs rest on their laurels, and riff repetition is used only when defining a theme.
The attention payed to riff writing is the real draw here. Not only do these songs pour over with riffs, they pour over with well written and intelligent riffs. There's no knuckle-dragging reliance on well-worn tremolo picking, and instead guitarist Matt Coyle pulls from a diverse stock of styles that send him all over the death and black metal map. And, most satisfyingly, brass knuckled breakdowns, the kind which Sepultura mastered on Beneath the Remains and Arise, show up on a few tracks for a welcome change of pace from the constant battering these marathon tracks deliver. Solos are rarely featured on Ghanima, but the musicianship is so above board that they're hardly missed, and Coyle does display a fractured sense of melody that serves as a fine place holder that is far more suitable for this record than guitar histrionics.
The production is aces for an unsigned band. There's plenty of separation between each instrument, which allows the hammering performance of the drums and contrapuntal efforts of the bass to cut right through the mix.
Also included on this disc are six remixes of older Harkonin cuts and a Whiplash cover that offers a glimpse into this band's past, and prove that a record label is well past due for this poser-proof outfit. But, while the labels may shun hard-hitting and not-so image-conscious bands during metal's current mainstream resurgence, you can still vote with your dollar and pick up Ghanima from the band's website. I suggest you do, because this shit kills.
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