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Harm - Devil (Reissue)

Harm
Devil
by H.P. Buttcraft at 28 March 2016, 7:43 AM

Since it has been a good decade since the swell in modern thrash metal occurred, a good representation of that would be this re-issue of HARM's "Devil", their 2006 freshman album. The insane, high velocity guitars with the hyper-violent drumming were the telltale sounds and signs of the influx of bands taking the more daring path of taking thrash metal from the 1980's and putting edgier and grimier faces on that style of musicianship. And a lot of them were coming out of Scandinavea, where HARM also hails from.

In the early-to-mid 2000's, we saw "post-Thrash Metal" bands like THE CROWN and THE HAUNTED populating the European mainstream. One band that flew under my radar at the time was HARM from Sweden. They fell in line with bands like CORPORATION 187 and CARNAL FORGE who were making a new wave of supercharged Thrash Metal. The sound of these band was a lot more ultra-violent and polished than the bands of the past who eventually grew into mainstream rock stars.

Norway was beginning to close the curtains on their infamous second wave Black Metal scene with bands like EMPEROR calling it quits and other bands like ULVER and ENSLAVED going in completely new directions away from their blackened roots. And this was around the time that “Devil” made its original debut. But now Battlegod Productions has reissued “Devil” as a double album with a whole other disc full of demos and B-sides from HARM. This release should be exciting for any fan of HARM.

For everyone else who doesn’t know who these guys are or what they sound like, I have to say that although the tracks on disc one are mastered better than on the second, which I think would be enjoyable for hardcore fans of HARM only, I still think that the mid levels of the frequency are too high. The songs themselves aren’t entirely as inspired or memorable than I would hope they would be. Even after all this time, the mediocrity of the songwriting cannot be mixed out of the recordings. I feel like I’ve heard songs like “Planet God“ a hundred times before from a dozen different bands.

A lot of the vocals feel forced. The guitars are mixed in a way to where they could’ve been leveled out a little better. The low frequencies provided by the drums and bass are muddied under the high-frequency barrage of the guitars. There is plenty of furious speed to the riffs but I still think that a lack of focus hinders the sound of these songs. The aggression is present and is the main driving force behind every single song on “Devil”, which I would not expect any less of with that title. But the music is more musically bombastic than crushing; meaning that the high volume alone doesn’t make this music any more energizing to its audience.

This album delivers on thrashy goodness but, if you aren’t already a hardcore fan of HARM or bands of their ilk, you may want to pass on this one in particular. For the extreme fans, it will be an 80 minute-long experience that will be enjoyable but for everyone else, it will be exhausting.

Originality: 5
Songwriting: 4
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc One
  1. Aggression
  2. Kvalt
  3. Devil
  4. Harm Unleashed
  5. Burn
  6. Reflection
  7. Planet God
  8. Rolling The Dice
  9. Instinctive, Reflex, Revenge
  10. Intense Replication Of Me
Disc Two
  1. Planet God
  2. Harm Unleashed
  3. Piercing Screams
  4. Intense Replication Of Me
  5. Reflection
  6. Twisted Metal Coffin
  7. Rolling The Dice
  8. Falling Star
  9. Misery Fields
Lineup:
Ronnie Eriksen - Rhythm Guitar
Tov Aanonsen - Drums
Tor Erik Anderson - Lead Guitar
Steffan Schulze - Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Battlegod Productions
     


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Edited 17 October 2021
 

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