These days, we read an awful lot about how we shouldn’t stigmatise mental health and that it remains taboo in modern society.
While I’m of the belief that the dehumanising lifestyle of the modern world plays a much bigger part than mental health advocates would like to mention, it is important to talk about such things.
To help people move forward with their life while also realising the futility of it all.
Harm’s Way frontman James Pligge is hard to miss. So much of the band’s look focuses on his massive tatooed torso.
His explanation? He “… struggled with a lot of social anxiety…It was very easy for me to take those frustrations out on the sports field, however that transitioned later when I was in high school to lifting weights… I just had a sense that I didn’t like people…I didn’t want to be around anyone, didn’t want to go to parties.”
And this, naturally, feeds into ‘Posthuman.’
From Chicago, Harms Way are a hardcore band.
Active in some shape or form since 2005, they’ve mutated from being a powerviolence band toward more standard, streamlined metallic hardcore. ‘Posthuman’ is their first record for Metal Blade, and boy, does it deliver.
‘Human Carrying Capacity’ gets things going by employing a very, very meaty guitar tone and a hammering midtempo that beats the listener into submission. The production (by Will Putney) is mighty. It feels like the band are playing right in front of you.
‘Last Man’ is two minutes of flat out hostility.
The vaguely drum and bass segments put me in mind of the last Code Orange record (no bad thing at all), but the sheer aggression on show in this track virtually pins the listener to the wall, while the sample/spoken word bit at the end is somewhat sinister sounding.
No question about it. ‘Sink’ is proper knuckle dragging material. But it sounds so good.
Proper pit music, while ‘Temptation’ emphasises the rhythm section, allowing for some dissonant notes and some soft (almost spoken) vocals for the majority of the song.
Both are necessary traits for this style of hardcore, and only the best make you forgive the obviousness of the tactic. These are up there with the best, in terms of songwriting and execution.
With Chicago’s rich heritage in industrial / electronic music (from Ministry to Kanye West) it’s unsurprising that Harm’s Way aren’t adverse to throwing in some off kilter electronic moments here and there.
While not as prevalent as they were on 2015’s ‘Rust’, and maybe not quite as well integrated, they do the job of giving the album a texture that many of this ilk simply lack.
It’s not going to change the world, but it will soundtrack you throwing people out of your way as you run to catch the train to work.
3 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 14/02/18