When people decide to start a band it can take sometime to find their feet, to discover exactly what sound they want to go for and how they want to present themselves as a unit. This process can happen over a number of releases as the band progresses, but there are occasions where members of a band are all working on the same level and the stars align right out of the gate. For Graz-based five piece HARROWIST, this seems to be exactly what has happened.
Formed in 2019, the quintets first offering presents seven tracks of anger fuelled hardcore.
Karakorum, may be a little rough around the edges, but that is part of the records charm. Driven by heavy, fuzzy guitars and held together by some exceptional drumming – which offers smatterings of d-beat and blast beats all rolled into one – the record would not be misplaced among bands such as Rise & Fall, Lewd Acts or any of that mid 2000s Deathwish Inc catalogue.
Though to say they have a sound of the past is unfair, yes there are nods to those influences, but this is by no means a throwback band and if anything they are paying homage to the aforementioned bands.
The idea of Karakorum, and Harrowist as a whole, is an uncompromising look at how we as humans wallow in the abyss of our own beings. The record itself is part conceptual as the bands vocalist takes on the persona of the fictitious character of the Harrowist who leads the listener through the journey people go through to reflect upon their own failed mindset.
Even though classing themselves as a hardcore band, Harrowist make nobs to a whole spectrum of genres, with elements of screamo, grindcore and metal all seeping into what they have created.
One of the stand out tracks on the record is “(I am the) Harrowist Tree of Life”, where catchy riffs drives the song and the chorus is rip to have crowd participation when we are once again able to attend live events. This song also feels like it is paying tribute to The Hope Conspiracy, which is a brand of hardcore that in my opinion is sorely missed.
The record closes with “The Puppeteers” where the band feel at their most raw and the lyrics “cut the strings” feels like a line which can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending who the listener is.
For a debut release this a very strong opening offering from Harrowist, yes there are definately elements which I am sure can be ironed out over time, but if you are looking for pissed off storytelling, then you can’t really go wrong with this record.