As a duo Salzburg Austria pairing Harakiri For The Sky have released an album every two years since their 2012 self titled debut, a unique blend of atmospheric Black Metal and Progressive Rock that gives both the inescapable maelstrom of shattering screams and the sudden acoustic guitar interludes that are World’s apart and yet sit perfectly balanced in the bands work. For this record, their fifth in all, they are joined by Septicflesh and live-Behemoth drummer Kerim “Krimh“ Lechner as a session musician, while Alcest frontman Neige brings a haunting flair to “Sing For The Damage We’ve Done” and the anonymous voice of Gaerea joins in on “Silver Needle // Golden Dawn“.
Harakiri For The Sky don’t do anything by halves with “Mӕre” with all of the songs except the closing Placebo cover ranging between 7 and 11 minutes in duration and if the cover art depicts a Wolf in Wolf’s clothing then that would be apt. “I, Pallbearer” offers searing melodies with a bright intensity and vibrancy that not only falls between atmospheric Black Metal and Progressive Rock but also has a dose of Post-Hardcore presence about it. It’s breathtaking at times and the piano passage is sublime. That leads into the spellbinding introduction of “Sing For The Damage We’ve Done” which then flies off into a high energy incendiary Black Metal drumming onslaught against a backdrop of more melodically toned guitars that is again jaw dropping. Daniel Fellner carried out the mix and his balance here is stunning, the leads and rhythm guitar parts are well placed while the drums and vocals are also given plenty of opportunity to shine. As with all music of this nature with those longer running track times, the vocals are more sporadically placed within the elongated musical structures and that music has to keep you engaged throughout, which it does. The question is, can you as a listener remain that way for the full 85 minute run time of the record? If you can, then the rewards are here to be found in epic granduer and frosty splendor, especially on repeated listens.
The meloncholic and gripping “I’m All About The Dusk” has a visual appeal to the soundscape that the music creates and while it may be cinematic, it is certainly capable of filling the larger auditoriums, belonging to venues like the Sydney Opera House and The Royal Albert Hall. Each track is a journey you can get thoroughly lost in as each element combines to create a single cohesive piece of music that fits together like a puzzle. There is no virtuoso solo because the sound is about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, like an Orchestra. The exception to that is the haunting “Silver Needle / Golden Dawn” which has a darker undercurrent and pulls an even more thought provoking narrative, as with most of the record ridden with trauma, delirium and loss. On paper the Placebo cover is something of a risk but they make “Song To Say Goodbye” their own by imposing their unique stylings upon it, so much so that if you didn’t know lyrically otherwise, you might not even notice [7.5/10]
1. I, Pallbearer 2. Sing For The Damage We’ve Done (ft. Neige of Alcest) 3. Us Against December Skies 4. I’m All About The Dusk 5. Three Empty Words 6. Once Upon A Winter 7. And Oceans Between Us 8. Silver Needle // Golden Dawn (ft. Anonymous voice of Gaerea) 9. Time Is A Ghost 10. Song To Say Goodbye (Placebo Cover)
“Mӕre” by Harakiri For The Sky is out 19th February 2021 via AOP Records