posted on 12/2007 By:
With Betrayer, Harlots have crafted their best release to date. Their previous two albums were impressive enough, but this new one sees the band refining and developing their violent and caustic blend of grind, hardcore and noise to satisfyingly potent levels. Betrayer has it all – musicianship that will blow you away, a fittingly raw and heavy sound, and some of the best songs this talented band has written thus far.
One of the strengths of Harlots is their ability to combine maximum brutality with melody and dynamics in a complementary fashion, as opposed to choppily switching between extremes. A lot of Betrayer is incredibly fast and frantic, yet at other times it’s calm and atmospheric, and it all flows wonderfully. Tracks such as “Avada Kedavra” and “Building Up An Empire For Destruction” are content to smash everything in sight, with manic, twisted guitar riffs and some truly violent drumming. “Full Body Contortion” continues in the same brutal manner before shifting into melodic passages and clean vocals in noisy, post-hardcore fashion to great effect. The real highlights for me though are the longer numbers. “Dried Up Goliathan” slowly builds the intensity with spacey, layered guitars and distant clean vocals, while the brilliant “Suicide Medley” ends proceedings with a satisfying blend of extended instrumental passages, ambience and a crushingly heavy and emotive climax.
The production on Betrayer is light on the polish and more about capturing the raw power of Harlots in full flight. It has a spontaneous, live feel with the furious drums high up in the mix. It suits me fine, but may disappoint those who prefer a cleaner sound. Overall, the various elements that comprise Betrayer are almost perfectly aligned. Harlots are fast cementing themselves as one of the best and most consistent of the tech/noisecore bands currently doing the rounds. What I love about this album is its balance between accessibility and outright brutality. On top of that, it’s delivered with intelligence and passion as well. If you didn’t go with DEP after Calculating Infinity, wish Isis were faster and more intense or if you find Between The Buried And Me a bit too unpalatable, I seriously recommend you check out Harlots.
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