Harakiri for the Sky – Maere (AOP Records)

Tuesday, 9th February 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

A case where a band sits in more of their own space, so there’s no need for drastic style changes in between albums, Harakiri for the Sky have been delivering elegant and melancholic metal for ten years now. Maere, as their fifth album, isn’t a huge change up from the past and nor does it need to be. Instead, it focuses on being the band’s strongest release to date.

Maere is a massive slab of material. Almost 85-minutes of music are here to be digested. As such, it’s an album that needs some dedication on the part of the listener. But due to the band’s musical structuring, you probably already knew this from previous releases. It’s just more upfront about it with this album. The band has never shied away from longer tracks to begin with, and for good reason. Harakiri for the Sky continues to get better at providing an experience that needs to be fleshed out and nuanced. The way that they build up melodies in “Time is Ghost” is ample proof. From the gentle intro to the gloomy yet upbeat riffs that then kickstart the song into more driving tempos, and then into more depressive riffs and the eventual ebb and tide to both sides – its something that could be accomplished in smaller doses, but it would lose some of its emotional impact. There’s a certain charm to the way that “Once Upon a Winter” slowly escalates its feelings and tension and delivers a potent finale 10-minutes later. It’s both downtrodden and glorious at the same time, and that’s what makes each of these tracks something special to behold.

Further progressing their sound, Harakiri for the Sky provide a musical experience that shares both thrills and gloom in equal amounts. Some may find it an odd combination, but for Maere, it works like a charm. The band is at their finest when generating these graceful and lengthy tracks – even at an extended runtime. You won’t want to pull away from this one, once it sinks its teeth into you.

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