Unless you are an unremitting devotee of all thrash there seems to be a lot of ‘same-ness’ about a lot of releases; and on first listen to Aussie thrashers Harlott’s latest release, ‘Proliferation’, it came across as a bit ‘so what?’
But as with all albums there is a general need to give them a few spins to get hold of what the totality of the sound is.
From the off this is a straightforward, heads down thrash release, which has a wee bit of huffing and puffing before getting some tunes that make you listen that bit closer such as ‘Restless’. All of which makes the slightly predictable ‘The Fading Light’ that bit more disappointing.
There is nothing per se wrong with the song, but the attempt to mix Slayer, Exodus and time changes makes it sound like a thrash mélange.
In contrast ‘Lord of War’ has more identity –heads down riffs, severe pace and no fuss, despite the typical lyrical thrash theme about the end of the world.
Where some bands pull this off, too often it is a well worn path; but then again while there are moments to smile at few can equal the humour of Gama Bomb in thrash.
Overall it would have been easy to brush this Metal Blade release, but it works on two levels: it is an album for both classic and new thrash fans; and given the ‘proliferation’ of genres and sub-genres this is an ‘honest’ metal release.
The twin guitar attack of Hudson (vocalist) and Butler works well, especially on ‘Hellbent’ and ‘Legion’, but it is Richards (bass) and Joyce (drums) who really drive this release. Set aside the speed and the time changes they play with a sense of purpose. ‘Hellbent’ showcases that you can play fast and furious and still have rhythmic intensity.
Leaving aside some of the more mundane elements Harlott have produced an enjoyable thrash release, deserving more than a passing listen.
Review by Jonny
Harlott release Proliferation on Metal Blade 18th September and join Annihilator on their European tour