Released: 2008, Battlegod Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
A dose of thrashy black metal from Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, comes under the Harkonin moniker. The band has been around since 2002 and already released 3 full-length albums and one live album, so we are necessarily not talking about any black metal rookies here.
GHANIMA, the band´s 3rd opus in order, which was originally released in 2006 by Chunks of Meat Records, has now been reissued by Battlegod Productions from down under – with 7 bonus tracks taken from the band´s 2nd album, titled SERMONS OF ANGUISH, as remixed versions.
Harkonin breaks from the standard formula of black metal by building their sound around a more thrash type of approach, in which aggressive and violent thrash riffs create a nice backbone for their blistering and fast black metal attacks. In fact, if you castrate Jason´s (Barron) vocal parts completely away from their songs, what you have left after that, is basically a firm foundation for thrash metal which any violent sounding thrash band would be happy about.
And I am, too because the guys in Harkonin do not seem to give a shit what the latest news about tagging along on the black metal bandwagon in 2009 are. They are marching through their own tiny warpath - heads and fists raised high and proudly in the air, doing their best to make a deadly impact on their listeners, and even succeeding in it quite well, too I think. They are probably not the most talented musicians in the world of metal, but with Jason´s vicious and acid black metal snarls (do I hear some Pete Helmkamp of Angel Corpse vibe in his vocal outbursts?) - melted together with quite a whirlwind of raging thrash/black metal fire and brimstone, the songs on GHANIMA offer a pretty pleasing package for your ears all in all.
I´m not that convinced about the remixed bonuses on this release though, even if that cover of Whiplash´s “Last Man Alive” sounds pretty bad ass in the hands of our 4 fellows from St. Louis.
By all means check out GHANIMA if you want to hear something a bit different from today´s overflowing black metal pool.