Harakiri For The Sky (HFTS) seem to be a pretty popular band. Their songs get hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Aside from a song titled “Calling the Rain” which, incidentally, is a near perfect song, I haven’t heard much of their stuff. Anyway, I said I felt like reviewing some post-Black Metal and “Maere” was pushed across my desk. If you have no idea what post-Black Metal is, my explanation would be that it’s the love child of Paradise Lost‘s “Draconian Times” and anything by Dark Funeral. Although post-BM bands never hit the speeds of Dark Funeral, they use a lots of chords. Also, post-BM bands write loooooonnnng, long songs. Some do this well in that their songs hold your attention, while others don’t. After listening to “Maere,” HFTS definitely fall into the former category (which might go some way to explaining their impressive number of YouTube views).
Anyway, “Maere” opens with “I, Pallbearer,” a song reminiscent of “Calling the Rain.” It’s mint! You know what HFTS do well? Layers. Their songs have soooo many layers. This is pretty impressive for a two-man band. I fucking love layers in music. The older I get, the more I appreciate melodies and harmonies. It’s dull when the lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, and bass player all play exactly the same thing. Do you hear me?! Dull! And, it sounds thin. If you want to add some muscle to your music, add some layers.
In addition to the layers, there’s a lot going on in “Maere.” Pianos. Acoustics. Some clean vocals. And, even some Children of Bodom-inspired riffage in “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done.” Interestingly, everything seems to float atop an underlying sadness. “Us Against December Skies” is a nice example of how HFTS manage to weave sadness into their songs.
The only bone I have to pick with this album is the vocals. They’re not bad per se, but they teeter on scream-o and they’re a little one-dimensional. Specifically, the timbre of the vocals is very constant throughout the album, and there’s not a lot of variation in vocal rhythms across songs either. But, musicaly, this album is so cool I’m inspired to check out HFTS‘s back-catalogue. They’re definitely worth a listen.
Rating – 4.5/5