Released: June, Final Gate Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Berlin based old school death metallers Harm are back out brandishing their gore soaked chainsaws with their second full release after 2013's 'Cadaver Christi' album. Their first album was a commanding piece of gratuitous musical force which fits in well alongside some of old school death metal's earlier prodigal works. Their mid-tempo brand of warmongering, christ hating brutallic thunder exhibited enough to set the standard for what to expect from this powerful Teutonic outfit. Released through Final Gate Records their latest endeavour offers some additional force to keep the edge on a still burning inverted cross.
As soon as the album starts, you notice the beefed up tone that Harm have added to their sound. 'Vlad The Impaler' gives a slow and memorable introduction to the album with a booming bassline that captures the very essence of the rest of the album. A precedence has been set and the initial track pours forth a ritualistic system of classic yet effective riffs and rhythms which, when pummeled on by Blitzkreig Barkley's vocals, provides a filthy start to the line of songs in store.
The first three tracks of this album take the shine off the rest; barring the big finish. 'Knife Penetration' is an absolute gem in death metal. The rapid indulgence in potent aggression, coupled with a solid chorus, keeps the fires of interest burning. When the title track 'The Evil' begins we get a dose of a massive fist getting shoved up the colon of Celtic Frost's 'To Mega Therion', with the entrails being ripped out, rearranged and formatted into a statement of Harm's warped vision. In particular 'Circle Of Tyrants' comes to mind but it is still a decent track and if you have an ear for the old school then it is practically set that you'll enjoy it.
Old school death metal is what it is and when a band such as Harm come around there's no real thrills to be expected. Of course we will get the same simplistic riffs that we have heard since Obituary defined the art; and still do to this day, yet, when we hear a band carrying the flag it is still nostalgic and also uplifting, in a sense. Let's face it, most bases have been covered and we should be happy enough to know that there are still recent, and decent, bands out there carrying on the tradition of potent, bouncing and worthy music.
There are moments that you wish were not such as 'God Forgives My Chainsaw Not', from the original demo, where the breakdown is so simplistic that it's almost cringeworthy, but there's still plenty more to like to divert the attention. This album has so many hooks and chops that it is forgivable and would be a joy to see live. 'Gutted Like A Deer', also from the original demo, livens up proceedings with a catchy and thunderous structure which could provide even the most conservative headbangers out there with some neck shifting inspiration. Another song worthy of naming has to be 'Dead Body Love'. It has a fine , yet small bass interlude which lays the foundations for a rapid coming together of musical forces and really puts a stamp on the prelude to the end of the album.
The album ends strongly with what may be the strongest song of the album in 'First Blood 1918' as the penultimate and most multi-layered addition to the album. The massive guitar tones are ridiculously full on and the way it bleeds into the final track 'Panzer Apocalypse' is far too systematic to be by accident.
It is a talent in song structure construction when you can balance ridiculous leads that blend into standard rhythm sections whilst remaining so obliterating, but, that's what old school death metal is all about and we get several examples of this throughout the album. It is pure for what it is and if you have a taste for what was and what now shall be in the old school variety of death metal then give this album a listen. It doesn't disappoint and has plenty to offer for those ardent fans of what death metal was and what should be.
REVIEW BY PETE MUTANT