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Harakiri for the Sky - Maere Award winner

Harakiri for the Sky
Maere
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 13 January 2021, 9:12 AM

Black gaze, post metal, blackened post metal….I could sit here all day and write about the one billion styles that make up heavy metal. HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY is one band that could musically be called a lot of things too. But, in the end, what matters is if the music is good in the first place. And the music contained within the ten tracks of the Austrian band’s fifth full length album, "Mӕre," is loaded with so many great and emotional moments that calling it masterful would still be understating it.

I'm a late bloomer with the band, having not discovered them until around the time of their previous album's "Arson," released. I immediately fell in love with their emotive and adventurous sound. After going back to their previous albums (and enjoying them as well of course) it was obvious they were getting better and better. But how could they possibly top "Arson?"By pouring their heart and soul into an hour and a half's worth of gut wrenching yet soul searching blackened metal, that's how.

"Mӕre" is an album of degrees and the spaces in between those extremes. The music can be a tranquil sound with an almost relaxing, laid back approach. But then it can also be the audio experience of walking through hell fire. It is an album that is heavy not just because they are a metal band but because their music anchors itself to you. Even while you’re drowning, longing to escape, there is something from deep within that this album pulls from you, dragging you back down to its considerable depths.

Fair warning: it is a long album—an hour and twenty four minutes! But it isn't a pointless length that just stretches out for the hell of it. Every single second has its place and it honestly doesn't even feel that long. The first track, "I, Pallbearer,"starts off with heavy guitar while quieter tones build in the background. It reminds me of a busy day where my brain just wont turn off but everything quiet downs as the night begins to descend. But darkness can be loud too and this songs tells that very clear. The movement from 2:55 all the way to 5:13 is exactly what I'm talking about: heavy, exciting yet melancholic and sorrowful. "Nobody ever tells you that emptiness weighs most" is a lyric from the song and I can't think of anything more appropriate to say about the song.

But they aren't just about musically bleak landscape….they have more than enough melody to balance out their pallet. Take "Us Against December Skies," for instance. The melodic intro mixes and swirls in with everything else. Not just the whole song but the whole album is one of varying styles and sounds the band picks up along the way and morphs into their very own. Post anything tends to sound similar across the board but no one sounds like HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY. "Maere" further cements this fact.

A clean instrumental breaks into "Us Against…" for a respite and a pretty guitar solo. It is a very organic switch and melds perfectly into the last couple minutes that end the song with a massive furry of double bass and guitars that jam it out. "Three Empty Words," displays the variety they achieve with apparent ease. The song’s burgeoning moments are more akin to black metal, what with the drums and more traditional riffing. Several sections of the songs have the instrumentals breaking down into clean notes, intersected between the more blackened elements and their melodic dirges.

With such long album with ten stellar songs, there is one that manages to still stand above all the rest: "And Oceans Between Us." In my humble opinion, this is the album's best song and, quite possibly, the best song they have written so far. It is so catchy and includes everything about the band that makes them so special. The riffs, melodies, drums, vocals…it all comes together perfectly. The guitars incense in emotional intensity and there is conviction in the vocals.  The drums themselves are complimentary to the song but really intense when needed.  The melodies contain a decent amount of groove, giving the song a free flowing feel.  The melodic breakdown around the 3:05 mark brings the song to new heights and sets up the rest of the song.  The whole of the song are those little moments like that where they are a piece of a larger puzzle building towards a grand finale.

Time Is a Ghost” opens with some acoustics but it quickly becomes one of the most urgent tracks on the album. The drums carry this feeling on the back of the riffs while the double bass matches the ferocity of the vocals. My favorite part of the song starts at the 5: 48 mark when the song slows down and the riffs/drums trade off the beat while the vocals scream outward.

"Song To Say Goodbye" is the appropriate final track.  At five and a half minutes it is by far the shortest track on the album but it is no less potent. It brings closure to the journey this far while leaving the want for even more.  It is a cover but I’ve never heard the original but they obviously make the song their own. HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY’s  “Maere” is a glorious statement about how well damn good song writing pays off.  Their best album so far and an early highlight for 2021.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I, Pallbearer
2. Sing for the Damage We've Done
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
9. Time Is a Ghost
10. Song to Say Goodbye (Placebo cover)
Lineup:
M.S.- All Instruments
J.J. - Vocals
Kerim "Krimh" Lechner -  Drums (session)
Record Label: AOP Records
     


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Edited 17 January 2021
 

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