Artist Harm's Way
Release Date: 10 March 2015
Label Deathwish Records Genre Hardcore
Harm’s Way has always been a band backed by the cult members of the hardcore scene, much like The Chariot fan base at the beginning of their career. The band is known for channeling dark overtones that lay on top of thick walls of distorted grooves. Rust is Harm’s Way’s fourth full-length album, being released through Deathwish Records on March 10th.
One of the personal reasons I enjoy Harm’s Way is their heaviness. They are the band I use to one up my metalcore friends in terms of severe destructive palm muted chug. The music fluctuates from these deep chugs to sludge riffs that twist and bend. It is a very simple formula, and one that’s not difficult to listen to either.
With regard to Rust, I think people will say, “this sounds a bit like The Devil Wears Prada.” I can see where the similarities are drawn, when “Infestation” finally kicks off about halfway through the track, when James Pligge’s vocals have that natural rasp and amount of air that Mike Hranica has. The extremely low-tuned guitars and progression are comparable to plenty of bands within the hardcore genre, making it sound like a worthy comparison to TDWP.
One thing to get used to in Rust is the lack of lead guitars spiraling off the main theme, or the guitars fluctuating too much at all. The drums will switch between intricate and abrasive patterns to pure blastbeats to two steps without much warning, helping create a more frantic feel to the music. This is seen on a track like “Hope,” in which the drums help shape the track into the beat down it is.
Rust features two spots on guest vocals as well. Colin Young, from fellow hardcore band Twitching Tongues, makes an appearance on “Amongst the Rust,” and his more high-pitched yells create a great contrast to Pligge’s approach. “Turn to Stone” features Emily Jancetic, and boy does her presence add charm to this album. The song plays out like a dark and twisted ballad before transitioning into one of the most cathartic of these 10 tracks. “Ease My Mind” closes out the album with a furiously paced rhythm section that puts most metalcore acts in their place.
In a way, Rust bleeds more than just a heavy hardcore album. All of the songs present on this album are straight bangers, which can lead to a confusion of mind-numbing sequences without much identity to an average listener. A few tracks will catch the ear by surprise with an obliterating drum pattern or visceral scream, with the two guest vocal spots adding the most change of pace. Harm's Way have released an album full of brutality without much room to breathe or to think.