Review: “Posthuman” by Harms Way

Chicago Illinois Hardcore wrecking ball Harms Way were joined by Uber producer Will Putney at Graphic Nature Audio in Belleville New Jersey to record “Posthuman” to be released by Metal Blade. Harms Way are far from your traditional Hardcore band, fusing Metal with Industrial influences and Hardcore ethics and this time around using Putney’s undoubted talent to help refine the sound.

“Human Carrying Capacity” gets things rolling with a bludgeoning old school riff that is immediately reminiscent of Sludge Metal legends Crowbar. The vocals hit like a blunt force trauma and while there is a brief drop into the industrial styled backdrop the band are famed for, it’s short lived. “Last Man” starts of with a programmed drum loop before giving way to the the full on attack of Harm’s Way. Pummelling from the very off with helter skelter riffage and pounding footwork before dropping back to its looped electronics with a buried speech sample. It’s pretty obvious with the frenetic pace and high energy that the bands live show will live up to its reputation. “Sink” then picks up where the opening track left off with an older styled Metallic Hardcore riff and a vocal delivery akin to Integrity’s offering. The slowing things down for a chunky closing breakdown section complete with a pair of choice squeal and bring backs is a choice section.

“Temptation” brings a groove with eerie atmospherics from off kilter guitars through its soft spoken word opening with delay echo effect. The almost tribal drum fills provide a constant that the soundscapes cascade from in almost ambient approach. That is until around the 2 minute 54 second mark, when the guitars burst into live with an pulverising breakdown and the true nature of the song is revealed. It’s a creeping beast that has pounced after bidding its time. “Become A Machine” however wastes no time in getting straight to the point with swirling riffage around whirlwind drum patterns that originate in hardcore punk but utilize far more bludgeoning tones. The gravelly uncleans bark through the lyrics as the guitars constantly build before dropping to a pause break and then breakdown on breakdown to an beater of a fade closing.

“Call My Name” starts the second half of the album with a slow build in gradually increasingly faster paced circles of riffage. The familiar almost tribal drum battery then making way for a second to allow a buried electronic loop to kick up some ruckus. It’s almost monotonous groove is highly addictive. If someone told you that this was a new Sepultura track with Mike Patton providing some electronics, you wouldn’t argue. “Unreality” picks up the groove element where the previous track left off and lyrically tells it’s tale amid chainsaw riffage and a pounding baseline. The bounce heavy groove breaks off for pounding drum fill and some choice breakdown guitars before an abrupt end. “Dissect Me” then piles through with a Roots-era Sepultura piece of kit work accompanied by skull crushing guitars that will make your jaw drop if you haven’t already dived headlong into the mosh pit. The fist pumping groove is then broken by a a post chorus sample and when the riffage returns, there is a pace change and that gravel throated unclean bark is accompanied by a higher pitched screamed vocal. It’s like getting hit by a battering ram.

“The Gift” brings the industrial tones with its looped programming and digitised drums holding a buried speech sample down before some wave like guitar work and part buried unclean vocal appears. It sounds like a remix has been thrown in mid-album and is perhaps designed to throw the listener off the scent. “Dead Space” returns us to what we love best about Harms Way. An almost tribal drum pattern makes way for a breakdown battering ram of a riff and a socially aware lyric that strikes home – “It’s just a black hole” barks out over the riff attack.

“Posthuman” fuses together brutal metallic hardcore with buried electronics to create an anvil heavy sound to wrap around your head and batter you into next week. Just when you think you’ve got it sussed out, Harms Way introduce something else into the mix to change up their game. To quote the band “It’s full on heavy and full on aggression” [8/10].

Track listing

  1. “Human Carrying Capacity”
  2. “Last Man”
  3. “Sink”
  4. “Temptation”
  5. “Becoming A Machine”
  6. “Call My Name”
  7. “Unreality”
  8. “Dissect Me”
  9. “The Gift”
  10. “Dead Space”

“Posthuman” by Harms Way is out now via Metal Blade

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