Harakiri For The Sky – “Arson” (AOP Records)
Nominees for the Amadeus Austrian Music Award in 2017, Harakiri For The Sky are a post black metal band from Austria – and then some! Formed in 2011 by Bifröst multi instrumentalist Matthias Sollak (MS) and vocalist Michael V. Wahntraum (JJ), the duo have released 3 prior albums and played the Summer Breeze festival in Germany among their notable achievements. Joining them this time round is drummer Kerim Lechner, well known for his stints in Decapitated and Septic Flesh, where he more than adds his mark on this deep and intense release. As strongly indicated by their name, Harakiri For The Sky, while using blast beats and hoarse, raw vocals go a lot further in their sound by incorporating a ton of shoe gaze no doubt influenced by the ‘blackgaze’ of Alcest, along with elements of post rock along the lines of If These Trees Could Talk and even post new / wave punk with a definite aim of producing some of the most intensely melancholic yet melodic music you’re ever likely to hear. They even cover the post grunge rock of Graveyard Lovers ‘Manifesto’ complete with guest female singers! Centred around an intense multi layered guitar driven cyclone putting out a tremendous amount of incredible passion along with even more emotional lead breaks and melancholic melodic solos through a variety of different guitar sounds, Lechner adds his precision powering beats both fast and slow to match, while JJ roars to heart breaking levels. With the occasional use of ambient passages graced by piano and delicate guitars, the song arrangements are some of the best I’ve ever heard given how every aspect of each one of the 8 tracks here has an immediate effect, holding onto you with its intensity and then only letting go before the next captivating number takes hold – truly awesome. Despite the length of the tracks (averaging around 9 minutes) the unpredictable and unorthodox song structures as well as the obvious energy allow this magical album to sail into you and before you know it, listen to it over again – as I’ve done here, this being my 4th consecutive listen! From the dark, Nordic chill of ‘Heroin Waltz’ with its warm guitar melodies embracing you while being blissfully contrasted by heavy waves of epic riffs, Lechner’s blast beats and JJ’s chilling raw screams to the dark wave brooding intensity on ‘You Are The Scars’ with its gothic piano and beautiful guitar melodies bursting and blossoming continously in melancholic climatic bliss, this album is one helluva ride. Still, nothing could prepare me for ‘Tomb Omnia’ with its stylish mix of black lite meets shoegaze and new wave through dazzling guitar melodies that just spiralled around my mind as JJ’s haunting vocals finally tripped me out to almost therapeutic levels induced by the quite spectacular music here. So thank you Harakiri For The Sky!