01. The Rise, The Fall
02. All, Alone
03. A New Reign
04. The Blue Chamber Painted Red
07. Here In The Dark
08. Plurimus Humilus, Ciacco
09. The Fall, The Rise
It’s a shame sometimes when bands get picked up on by already famous musicians, they sometimes get cast under that same shadow for the whole of their careers so I will make a blatant effort not to mention the man who’s name rhymes with Bill Fandelmo.
Haarp are a band that have been hyped up quite a bit in the last few months and while label hype is a usually dangerous tool normally geared around disappointment, every now and then and it will unearth a gem. This is definitely a gem, in the sludgiest sense of the word, a crushing trek through sounds ruled by bands like EyeHateGod, Fistula and Cavity. However, where those bands tend to keep songs relatively short, Haarp aren’t afraid on landing on the doomy side of things, with many of the songs reaching well into the 7-8 minute mark.
“The Rise, The Fall” and “The Fall, The Rise” book-end the album with a definite EHG vibe and could both have easily slipped in un-noticed to the ‘Dopesick’ track listing. They have those distinctive huge sludge riffs, backed by bass and drums both doing the song justice rather than trying to show off. The vocals, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter, with Shaun Emmons’ voice sounding more like a deep growl than a higher pitched hellish shriek, reminding me a little of the legendary Glen Benton. Especially, on the more up-tempo, “All, Alone” when he bellows ‘My hands around the throat of fate!’, you can genuinely hear the conviction in his voice, it’s good to hear singers who still sound like they believe in the lyrics they write.
Overall, I would say this album peaks more in the middle, when they really aren’t afraid to take ideas and run with them. For instance “A New Reign”, while not really doing anything too original, takes some very simplistic riffs and plays with them for about 8 minutes. It never feels drawn out though, every single section is placed to build on the last one and each one is heavier and more satisfying than it’s predecessor.
I don’t feel like I could talk about this album without talking about the real jewel in the crown, the 9 minute long ‘The Blue Chamber Painted Red’. Every single second of those 9 minutes is spent creating a huge suffocating atmosphere, a constant ‘walls closing in’ style feeling of claustrophobia that you can only really create with monolithic mid-tempo riffs. I never thought that guitar solos went that well with sludge but Grant Tom manages to prove me wrong with an absolute face-melter, a perfect mix of melodic playing and just plain showing off.
The Filth really couldn’t be anymore of a perfect title for this album, this album is the audio equivalent of bathing in used needles. Sludge at it’s most potent and genuinely disturbing and I really can’t think of many downsides to it other than it probably won’t convert any non-believers but for those that love all things slow and heavy, Haarp are really onto something special.
Also, Phil Anselmo made a great choice signing them.
Haarp – The Filth gets…