Harlott – Detritus of the Final Age (Metal Blade)Wednesday, 25th November 2020
Finishing off a trilogy of records and starting with a clean slate, Australian thrash unit Harlott approaches their fourth record Detritus of the Final Age fresh and open to new possibilities. Choosing to seek out a new studio and producer with Julian Renzo also can shake up the formula so to speak. Fortunately for most long-time followers of thrash, the band still subscribe to furious tempos, rapid-fire vocals, and a riff assault that won’t be forgotten anytime soon as it decimates and destroys while injecting the right transitions, dynamics, and melodic/harmonic touches throughout.
Smartly frontloading the record with a one/two fist to face punch of aggression and adrenaline-laced fervor through “As We Breach” and “Idol Minded”, by song three the listener is ready for a mid-tempo reprieve in “Bring on the War” – still heavy and militant in its approach, but fairly controlled through the steady rhythm crunch and Glen Trayhern’s punishing steady snare/double kick hits and tribal-like fill combinations. Overall Harlott possess that cool combination of delivering interesting semi-technical thrash riffs with melody and bite – which along with guitarist Andrew Hudson’s commanding vocal bark (the man has a knack for wasting no space with his words and syllable counts against the musical underpinning) reminds me of a mix of acts like Megadeth, Testament, and Annihilator during a song like “Slaughter”, while the crossover, fun side comes out on the 2:10 closer “The Time to Kill Is Now”. The band also explore a couple of epic arrangements where some more interplay and the execution of musical mechanics takes ahold – displaying a bit more of their Maiden/Priest meets Megadeth sophistication during the seven to eight-minute efforts “Nemesis” and “Miserere of the Dead”, including some brilliant acoustic and bass embellishment that give the record different textures and assure diversity. At ten songs and 48 minutes, Harlott find that sweet spot between entertaining the listener and not overstaying their welcome – plus assuring numerous playbacks to hear all the brilliant lead breaks, slamming transitions, and thunder on offer track to track.
Detritus of the Final Age keeps Harlott near the top of not only the Australian thrash ranks, but possibly can go toe to toe with a lot of their main influence output these days. Crunchy, headbanging stuff with loads of hooks, riffs, and killer lead play – which is what most crave in this genre.