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Released: 2014, Season Of Mist
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
Hark is a new stoner metal band from England and it was spawn from the ashes of the band Taint, the former band of vocalist/guitarist Jimbob Isaac, after almost 16 years of ‘stoner’ activity. For those that don’t know Swansea’s Taint used to be a stoner metal band and from what I’ve read about them, are pretty influential within that genre. Now, Hark doesn’t seem like an exact continuation of Taint, yet keeps the elements that made the band legendary while putting their own musical stigma by the releasing of their debut album, CRYSTALLINE.
This is stoner metal at its very very finest. The music is heavily inspires by both the darkness and bluesiness of Black Sabbath and the more ‘stoner’ Down and High on Fire. Hark has found the perfect spot for themselves between those three bands, somewhere closer to the last two as far as the generic characteristics concerns. The music is heavy, yet not overbearing and extremely catchy and will sink straight into your skin, mind, spirit and soul. The music is mid-paced most of the time with many tune changes in every single song; a well-worked album that gonna be one of the greatest stoner albums of the year. The magnificent production is dirty and gives the album character and this is because Kurt Ballou (Converge) was in charge. The mood is hypnotic together with the sludgy and travelling guitar riffs. Also, I like the distorted and dirty vocals of Jimbob . Phil Anselmo and Matt Pike would be so proud of those things that surely they have influenced other people to do.
I have to say that this release surprised the hell out of me; the crushing and slow-heavy riffs the incredible and steady rhythm section, the gloomy outlook that Hark has, the feeling after listening to CRYSTALLINE for 8 times in a row; maybe all of these together. CRYSTALLINE also includes some rather groovy moments (‘Mythopoeia’, ‘Sin Nn Sleeves’) and this makes that record finer than previously. Besides wielding bruising riffs, the stoner trio's impish sense of rock 70’s psychedelia, smoulders.
The material of CRYSTALLINE still makes up most of their live set and pushes drones to its limits, with a crushing wall of bass tones guaranteed to alter heart rhythms and weaken building infrastructures.
Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was totally true when he said, “Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true”.
2. Hounded by Callous Decree
3. Sins on Sleeves
4. Black Hole South West
5. Breathe and Run
7. Scarlet Extremities
8. All Wretch No Vomit
9. Xtal 0.6
10. Clear Light of....
Jimbob Isaac: guitars & vocals
Nikolai Ribnikov: bass
Simon Bonwick: drums
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