EP REVIEW: Harbinger – Paroxysm
Harbinger have been quite the rising force within the tech-metal scene within the UK for a notable length of time now, whilst managing to be unchained to any of the musical presumptions that are typically served with such a feat. The London quintet have raised 5 tracks from the depths of death and tech metal to spearhead their latest release, Paroxysm.
Falsifier serves as the slower-than-the-norm opening track on the EP, though its pace is no issue for keeping the riffs and melodies flowing with strength and conviction. This sets the tone aptly for the next few tracks, as the band exercise zero struggle in retaining this melodic theme throughout their manic guitar work. The filth-ridden chorus melodies on display within Falsifier and Survival by vocalist Tom Gardner are testimony to this fact, often providing the highlight of the song. The guitar work is clearly technical beyond shadow of a doubt, but enticing melodies are all present with consistency. This very thing completely transforms the songs from being hard hitting pleasant listens to being repeatable and lingering joys.
Although the pace of the opener does little to dampen its conviction, the record could perhaps benefit from not following the same almost walking pace speed limit for every track. After the close of the final song, we’re left with a desire to hear another track centred around a much higher BPM, less so out of boredom and more out of general excitement and intrigue (despite how odd a request that may be). The lack of varying punch may be a detriment to the core of the EP, but the biggest halt in the path of the death metal train is the notable lack of melody in the closing two tracks. In truth this is less of a criticism for the tracks in question, but more of a comparison to the other songs on the EP. Subsidised Slaughter and A Fractured World focus more on the heavier essence of the release; but we believe that this is not where Harbinger shine through. It is this reason for which we implore the band to discover more of what they are capable of within their truly special touched-upon ventures in the first half of the EP.
Within five tracks Harbinger display enough high octane riffing and melodic content that sure enough cements them as a note-worthy player in melodic death and tech-metal scene. But the true strength of the band is the way that they have exercised all of that within their own style and sound, albeit this is not fully delved into in this release. Despite that, fused together is a force of power that is worthy of purchase for an enjoyable play through, but even more so for the proof that this band are set to make waves. Destructive and catchy ones, at that.
Standout Track: Survival
For Fans Of: The Faceless, Allegaeon
Written by: Andrew Macdonald