Harm’s Way’s LP Isolation is a great example of straight forward hardcore music done right. This band has the right attitude and the writing capabilities to make them the top of the genre. Their focus on enormously heavy sound sans needless breakdowns really makes them something special. This year we got some new music from them in the form of the Blinded EP. This EP continues their well-established sound but adds a thick heaping of great atmosphere.
At twenty one minutes in length Blinded doesn’t drag on in the least. It places punches where it needs to and pummels your ears with heavy riffs continuously during that time. The opening track, ‘Frontal Lobe’ is a seven minute monster, and quite possibly the best track on the album. It encapsulates everything that makes this EP special and packs in some memorable riffs. This track also contains a sound bite from the film There Will Be Blood, which makes for a great transition into the real meat of the song.
Part of what makes Harm’s Way great is their choice to focus on a slower more thunderous sound instead of the more punk inspired hardcore sound like Terror and Trapped Under Ice. Harm’s Way incorporate ideas from Doom and Death Metal and it works incredibly well to make their sound feel immense. I haven’t had the chance to see them live, but from what you can find on the internet about them, they had a very intense show and vocalist James Pliggue has the personality and muscles to add to that. Pliggue’s vocals doesn’t really stray from his mid to low ranged scream at all, but his vocals are basically perfect for their sound regardless, so it’s not much of an issue. Any real change in his vocals might have actually detracted from the listening experience in the end anyhow.
Isolation is a well written and performed album, but there are some flaws to be found in it, mostly in terms of pacing and overall flow. Blinded on the other hand is more focused, feels more cohesive and purposeful. It’s slower pace overall gives it a more ominous and monstrous feel than Isolation, and should play incredibly well live.
Blinded sees great improvement in overall focus for the band and steps up their sound to a new somehow even heavier level. This EP marks great progress for the band and only makes me more excited to hear future material from them.