Sunday 10 November 2019

Harrowed - Chaotic Nonentity

Labels: Feast Of Tentacles/SuperFi Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 18 Oct 2019


1. Stark Terrors
2. Postmodern Prison
3. One Hundred Years
4. Disconnexion
5. Inauthenticide
6. Derelict
7. Living Unknown
8. Interlude I
9. Coward
10. Interlude II
11. Disused Limbs
12. Chaotic Nonentity

The burden weighs heavy. Not that listening to the new release from Harrowed is a burden, It's just been a long week. This is the first new music to come from the Kent heavy hardcore band since their 2013 debut full-length "Into Inferno" and it couldn't be more apt for the current social climate. It was release last month by two of the UK's longest running DIY labels, Feast Of Tentacles and SuperFi Records.

I’m hungover. A weekend of excess after another long week has left me feeling a little peaky today. Not sure if this will help or hinder my recovery but I’m willing to take the chance. Harrowed have always been super heavy and on album opener Stark Terrors, they throw all sorts into the mix, from blackened riffs, sludge-like refrains and straight-up dirty hardcore. Great start so far. There’s an assured feel to this record. The riffs that kick off Postmodern Prison are downtempo and negative before the band lurches into a grinding and noisy sub two-minute blast.

One Hundred Years follows quickly after and it’s thrashing backbone is joined by a lovely solo and clever time-changes, alongside those scathing vocals that seem to pierce your very being. I’m struggling with words and typing today, so apologies if this review reads weird at times. Harrowed delivers one of their longest songs in Disconnexion and it’s one where the percussion really shines. The drumming is authoritative, as it is throughout the album, but alongside the stripped back structure, it comes to the fore. It carries their sludge influence too, which adds to that feeling of dread and claustrophobia that the record presents.

When listening to Inauthenticide, it’s easy to understand why it took Harrowed six years to follow “Into Inferno”. There’s a swagger to the music, but not in a cocky sense and the instrumentation seems to be on another level. The songs are short but seem long and contain a lot of music, if you get what I mean. The quiet build-up to Derelict is a misnomer because no sooner have you sunk into it’s warming tones, that it jumps into life again with dissonant misery. At this point and despite the genre influences I’ve already mentioned above, I think this could well be the evolution of what was metalcore, before that particular sub-genre went south. It’s about time good metalcore (like Shai Hulud and Blood Has Been Shed etc, made a comeback). 

The misery mentioned earlier continues during Living Unknown, which drags you into the second half of “Chaotic Nonentity”.  At this point Harrowed decides to throw in an interlude, but calling Interlude I such a thing is a bit unfair. It’s an extremely solid instrumental hardcore song and it’s the perfect bookend for Coward, which comes and goes in a whirlwind of grinding ferocity and thick breakdowns. Interlude II is haunting with it’s spoken-word sample and uneasy instrumentation. The blackened screams on penultimate song Disused Limbs are disconcerting but this is Harrowed back at their heavy best and as the title-track concludes “Chaotic Nonentity” with up-tempo chaos and pummelling drumming, it’s like they’ve rolled everything from the album into one song. 

This record is concise, really well-written and performed. It’s gritty but also enjoyable. Listen to it in it’s entirety and you’ll be hooked, as it’s not one that you should dip in and out of. 2019 is still giving birth to awesome records.

You can stream "Chaotic Nonentity" and purchase it digitally below:-

You can buy LP copies from the labels below:-

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