Branded as one of the most talented rising hardcore acts of the year, Harbinger have finally dropping their highly anticipated debut record. With two previous EP's to their name, refining their sound has been their one main goal and here to emphasise this is Compelled To Suffer. A finished product that tells the story of two years worth of blood, sweat, tears, and riffs finally coming to fruition.
Opener, ‘The Awakening’, delves into a haunting ambience before progressing into its heavier nature, yet this comes across as unnecessarily rushed. It's evident that Harbinger have a knack for building up a trembling atmosphere with their instrumentals, yet by the same token they seem reluctant to let them be a centrepiece of the record. Where the increased technicalities come into play, such as on tracks like ‘The Red Flower’ is the area of Compelled To Suffer where the band sound at their most prolific - so it's somewhat of an eyebrow raiser that the band didn't go all in with this concept.
On the other hand, Tom Gardener shows a development in his vocal capabilities through the record. ‘The Dance Of Species’ gives the deep, rumbling growls and melodic death metal push we all craved from the bands previous releases. ‘Death Pending’ however is a shining example of the progress the band has made, giving a deep metal approach, both chilling and horrifying with a hint of personal vulnerability between the threads of the track. It always shows a level of intricacy when a band weaves such juxtaposing themes into their rhythms. Harbinger have honed their craft and Compelled To Suffer gives them an iron clad blueprint to work from.
With Compelled To Suffer, Harbinger have clearly left nothing in the studio. Taking their experiences and fusing them together to make a potent, vicious metal record. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this record though is in its imperfections, as the quintet continue to learn on their assault through the metal sound waves, you get the sense that what comes next could be a real game changer.
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