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Harakiri For The Sky - Arson (2018) - Review

Band: Harakiri For The Sky
Album title: Arson
Release date: 16 February 2018
Label: AOP Records

01. Fire, Walk With Me
02. The Graves We've Dug
03. Your Are The Scars
04. Heroin Waltz
05. Tomb Omnia
06. Stillborn
07. Voidgazer
08. Manifesto [Bonus]

One of the Austria's finest metal acts, Harakiri For The Sky, is back to offer another dose of staggering melodies intertwined into blistering extremity and utter melancholy. The band with their respectful discography, four albums in six years, pushes the now often rusty and repetitive post-black metal genre forward into new dimensions. Although staying true to their formula achived on previous albums, especially Aokigahara (2014) and III: Trauma (2016), vocalist J.J. and multi-instrumentalist M.S., this time with a studio drummer, Kerim "Krimh“ Lechner of the Septicflesh fame and live drummer for Behemoth, don't deliver anything really new, but yet what they offer with Arson is truly persuasive.

Yes, in terms of quality and performance, Harakiri For The Sky, are able to transcend the borders between black metal and post-rock in a magnificient way, aggression and melancholy are rarely melted together so well like in their case. On Arson there's also a noteable presence of some melodeath elements, typical for bands like Insomnium, and there's less of that Agalloch influence that was present before. Still, Arson is built mainly on captivating melodic but intense driving rhythms, with kind of a dark aura giving it certain bleak menacing atmosphere and creating kind of a thick and dense wall of sound. One thing that I find rather annoying on this album is the lenght of most of the tracks, but I wouldn't mind that if only the tracks were composed more in a way to build up in tension, instead of that we get with almost every one ten minutes of in some way too linear toying with similar, even though fantastic riffs.

Don't get me wrong, Arson is an enjoyable album, but needs a fully devoted listener and only like that this album with its eight tracks clocking in around one hour and ten minutes will take you on a sonic journey with its massive soundscapes. The strongest point of Arson are of course guitars, with many just fantastic tremolo-picked leads, and to some extent also vocals, but I find J.J.'s vocals, even if they are very good, just enough harsh, very passionate and emotive, also a bit more polished out than before, to be rather too monotone, there's simply too little dynamics in the vocal range. Another story is the drumming in here, the best ever in the case of Harakiri For The Sky, just perfect, turbulent and technically perfective. And yet, if listening to one song at the time and not to the entire album in one go, this is a true alluring masterpiece.

There are some tracks that stand out from the rest, for example the Twin Peaks inspired opener "Fire, Walk With Me", an aggressive yet emotional start delivering some really promising riffs and giving pace to what follows. Then I was blown away by the rather more dynamic and melancholic, but still very fierce vortex named "Heroin Waltz", and by a bit more progressive in nature "Stillborn". Of course, the highlight on this album for me is "Manifesto", for which I don't understand why it's used just as a bonus track, because it's so highly immersive, and the vocals, yes, the duet between J.J. and haunting female vocals of guest Silvi Bogojevic works out just perfectly, not to mention how nicely the choir sangt by another guest Leesa is lifting everything up. With "Manifesto" Harakiri For The Sky shows that they can compose some really impressive dynamic and modern music that to some extent reminds to a darker version of In Flames.

Harakiri For The Sky did another mesmerizing collection of tracks that will for sure blow away their most devoted fans, for the rest I don't know, Arson might be a bit more demanding record than their previous works and needs time to grow on you. A huge plus is the crispy clear production which adds additional depth and power to compositions. Arson is simply Harakiri For The Sky in its finest, M.S. and J.J. didn't really do their best album so far, III: Trauma is in my opinion a better one, but all in all, Arson with all its intricacy it's certainly one of those good post-black metal albums and Harakiri For The Sky with it, like with every one of their albums, are determining the standards for this genre. I only hope that on their next efforts they won't play it safe and that there will be a bit more of diversity and dynamics, like for example they showed it on bonus track "Manifesto".

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10