8 stars

Harbinger, are a London based melodic/technical death metal band that have recently release a 5-track album, ‘Paroxysm’. The band have played with some big names and will be appearing at Tech fest this year with the likes of Protest the Hero and Between the Buried and me. Paroxysm is their debut though many of the members have been in other bands prior to the start up of Harbinger.

The first track ‘Falsifier’ starts heavy, solid beats and guitars, and despite having influences such as Decapitated its not as harsh as I was expecting. It has some amazing melodic parts and that makes it a lot more easy listening than a lot of death metal. The cleaner vocal isn’t something I’m a massive fan of, it’s a little too James Hetfield for me, however I do like the scream vocal, nice tone and not to yappy. The song has awesome technicality and is a really good start to the album.

The third track in ‘Survival’ starts and I’m in utter awe of the guitarist, I cannot get over the level of ability in this band. However this song is more than just stupidly fast guitar playing, the melodic elements continue to play nicely with the pounding drums and bass, and the clean vocal is much better than in the first song. The solo about 2 minutes in reminds me of older songs by The Black Dahlia Murder, which is definitely a good thing!

I really like how Habinger have written this album it’s listenable but still brutal as hell, they have cracked into an amazing balance that is hard to achieve. ‘Subsidised Slaughter’ is a really good track to show off just how they have balanced strong melody with heavy hard-hitting beats. The breakdowns later in the song are low and dirty but so good, and it doesn’t stop the rest of the song flowing nicely. It’s still cohesive and makes sense and all that with more of the Black Dahlia Murder esq solo-ing, which I love!

The final track ‘A Fractured World’ is brutal from the start but somehow has a few seconds where it sounds almost hardcore. I have no clue how this band have managed to mix and master so many different styles and technical abilities and make it into one 5-track album, that is actually good, and not just a chaotic mess of unlistenable noise.

Seriously without doubt one of the best debut albums I have heard this year, it is crushingly brutal while still melodic and refined, I’m stunned. Just no more James Hetfield vocals and this would be perfect. (8/10)

Written by Steph Clifton



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