Harakiri for the Sky – Arson (Art of Propaganda)

Friday, 9th February 2018
Rating: 8/10

Ever since their debut Aokigahara, Harakiri have been rapidly expanding their audience, and for good reason. A tough nut to crack in terms of classification, it’s only become more difficult as the band has sonically expanded their palette. But that’s part of their appeal in the end – applying some familiar and traditional elements yet managing to stand out from the pack a bit. Arson doesn’t make a huge stylistic jump from that of Trauma, but proves they know how to smooth the edges out in their formula.

Those drawn to the band for their melancholic and introspective atmosphere will find no surprise when it comes to Arson’s sound. That gloomy, lingering feeling combined with a sense of wonder and awe continue to be the biggest feather in the band’s hat. Even when they crank the speeds up a bit (a la “Stillborn”), there’s some wondrous qualities in the riffs. With songs within the 8-10 minute range, it does impress at how capable the songs flow – there’s never a dull moment really. Depressive yet beautiful (Insomnium-esque perhaps) melodies pepper each track with enough traction to keep them going for extended lengths. The feeling of getting lost within the melodies happens naturally and frequently. A pleasant surprise waits at the end – a cover of Graveyard Lover’s “Manifesto,” which features some female clean vocals and a soft opening before accelerating into heavier territory.

Harakiri for the Sky seemed to have found the sound that they are going for, which is perfectly acceptable for an act that’s got something of their own going. Borrowing from everything from post-black to melodic death to doom – there’s some appeal for many in the underground. But most importantly, Arson is full of strong and emotionally resonant material that’s easy to get wrapped up in.

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