Since their inception in 2011, Harakiri for the Sky have been pedaling some of the best post-rock infused black metal this side of the Atlantic, even giving lead torch bearers Deafheaven a run for their money at the best of times.
Black metal purists at first seeing a mention of the kryptonite word that is 'Deafheaven' will run a mile, and thus shoot themselves in both feet, because not hearing Harakiri for the Sky is doing yourself a disservice. They’re THAT good. Arson is the latest offering from the Austrian duo, which upgraded to a trio for the recording of this record with Kerim ‘Krimh’ Lechner (Septicflesh, Behemoth live fill-in) playing drums in the studio for them, which is a real treat as the drum parts on Arson are tighter than a drum machine.
Following up their previous work III – Trauma was always going to be a difficult task, due to the sheer excellence of that record. Arson as a whole though is a fantastic attempt. Expanding upon the work done on the aforementioned record, whilst exploring grander grounds. Arson takes you to places black metal bands have never quite managed, unlike most black metal bands that just batter you to death with blast beat after blast beat section, or just going from black metal section to ambient section and vice versa.
The songs throughout Arson progress and evolve into something else throughout each song, what may start out as a pummeling blast into the abyss will morph into a Mogwai-esqe soaring riffing that’ll have you tearing up more than the ending to Marley & Me. Some sections even sounding quite punk rock/hardcore in their delivery whilst not losing a touch of the intensity. The legibility of the vocalist/lyricist J.J is another bright spark for the record, where most black metal vocalists shriek and wail until the paint is stripped from the walls, you can clearly hear the emotion behind the voice throughout.
Arson as a whole shows an emotional depth and grander scale of musicianship that Black Metal bands fail to reach at the best of times. Following up a scene epic with another potential potential avalanche is the standard we all should be striving for. Don’t be surprised if you see this on any black metal fans top ten of the year list this December.