Haar’s About That Then
From the outset it is clear that this 2 year old Edinburgh band are not your typical bullet belt clad blasters, as a cursory glance at the CD player shows 3 tracks on clocking in at a weighty 26 minutes. With long songs comes a great responsibility to diversify, as anything featuring 9 minutes of wall to wall trve kvlt biscuit-tin drums recorded on a mobile phone in Gandalf’s corrugated steel garden shed would have me eating my laptop with rage. Luckily for me Haar paint a rich musical picture, using the time to conjour desolate landscapes where raw speed is balanced with doomy, progressive parts that occasionally bring to mind Agalloch’s heavier moments.
The EP begins with Whisper Serenities Eve (Mike Akerfeldt will be kicking himself he never came up with that name first), which nails their colours to the mast from the beginning, opening with a dirty great hulk of a riff before unleashing the blackened mist, but also featuring some nice technical flourishes that successfully manage to raise it above 92% of other black metal.
To Forgive An Enemy is an epic track that features far more expansive atmospherics and despite its length, is probably the most traditional sounding black metal song on the EP, the spacey refrain being a nice focal point that carrys the song along as the instrumentation twists and turns around it.
Without Form Or Void begins with a discordant riff, upping the grim factor another notch, yet amongst the spiralling tremolo picking and diminished chords it features the most melodic passages of the entire EP, which balance out to create an outstanding track.
The songs are well produced, providing enough warmth and depth to the songs to do the ambition of the music justice, without losing their raw black metal edge. From only this brief glimpse it is clear that Haar have real potential, and I look forward to hearing them further explore and develop the various progressive elements that make this release stand out (while maintaining their chilling black metal blast) in the future. Their total lack of spiky shin guard and corpse paint promo pictures taken in a snow-clad forest is a matter for another day, however…