Harms Way – Posthuman (Metal Blade)

Sunday, 21st January 2018
Rating: 7.5/10

Tough metallic hardcore, not necessarily tough-guy metallic hardcore, although you’d like to think the Harms Way gents can throw down when they need to. That’s where the line is drawn — is this bonehead hardcore with the usual array of overused chug-beatdowns, or, is there something else on hand, like, interesting riffs and arrangements? On Posthuman (their fourth full-length and first for Metal Blade), Harms Way answer that question somewhat resoundingly. This is above-the-line hardcore.

Somewhere between the rough-and-tumble ridges are a bit of noise-scapes, not terribly dissimilar to the leading band in this area, Pittsburgh’s Code Orange. They serve as build-ups and segues, in particular on “Last Man,” a cut that serves up more than enough brutality to last an entire album, brevity and all. The familiar swing and groove of “Sink,” “Become a Machine” and “Dissect Me” find Harms Way getting down low with grudge-match chugs, that, for the most part, are more interesting than your standard hardcore fare. And while some experimental elements push their way into “Temptation,” the lasting impression here is that Harms Way can effectively volley between the worlds of circle-pit HC and ninja-kick HC.

Given the aforementioned success of Code Orange, it will be of interest if bands try to copy their model of overwhelmingly aggressive hardcore. Harms Way, while pissed and angry, can cop to being musical and intimidating at the same time, keeping the edges sharp and the message unforgiving.

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