Harakiri For the Sky – Aokigahara (Art of Propaganda)

Wednesday, 2nd April 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Geology fun fact time!  Aokigahara is a forest located at the base of Mt. Fuji and is referred to as the “Sea of Trees” or “Suicide Forest.”  Home to over 500 suicides since the 1950s  (number two location for suicides in the world), Aokigahara is known for it’s strikingly quiet surroundings, icy caverns, and lack of wildlife.  Who says you can’t learn anything from metal?

Harakiri For the Sky is a black/post-metal band that will certainly win over fans of bands like Deafheaven and So Hideous.  However, the selling point upon first listen was the down-trodden riffing style present on opening track, “My Bones to the Sea” that has a certain Katatonia-esque feel to it.  The droning, somber riff structures do not feel too far removed from something the band might have attempted on Discouraged Ones or Tonight’s Decision.  This structure doesn’t necessarily stick out so much on the other tracks (though it blends with the blackish/post-rock riffs well), but Harakiri For the Sky’s knack for sorrow-filled melodies is the backbone propelling them forward.  Thankfully, things occasionally slant in the (almost) upbeat direction, with songs like “Burning From Both Ends” and “69 Dead Birds For Utoya” speeding up the preceding a bit.  If you are a vinyl fan, you’ll also get an added treat in the form of a cover of Tears for Fears “Mad World,” which is a standout in the sense that they truly took the song into their own sound and made it their own (the benchmark of a great cover).

The only unfortunate aspect to Harakiri For the Sky is the vocals.  The screamed/shouted vocals occasionally feel a bit too abrasive and forced.  It almost seems like they would benefit from lowering the vocals in the mix.  Admittedly, it’s a minor complaint amongst the gorgeous guitar lines that routinely impress but something that could potentially turn a few people off.  Outside of that, Harakiri For the Sky keeps things pretty ethereal for the hour-long runtime, offering a glimpse at a band that could rightfully be pushing their way to the upper echelon of the post-black genre with another album or two.

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