Harms Way - Posthuman
Written By: Dustin Koetsch
There is a certain expectation you have when putting on a Harms Way record. You surmise theres going to be an absolute level of inherent intensity thats imbued within each note played and lyric shouted. The band doesn’t hold back with any album they’ve ever written, which is why after many listens I find the bands latest offering “Posthuman” an oddly “safe” record for them.
Now, I think anyone reading this, that when hearing the word “safe” you would automatically assume that means bad or less than, and it’s actually quite the contrary. This record is a good record, its got some hellaciously written songs and added flourishes that really show the band is trying to evolve into something more, with “Posthuman”
It has all the trademark ferocity and bludgeoning that every Harms Way record is known for. Everything about this record from start to finish is the purest distilled form of their brand of music you could possibly want. Heavy fast paced battering drums, raging guitar infused with the lowest rumbling bass tones and James Pligge’ hardcore style vocals that exude that imbued hatred and anger with equally crushing ferocity as the instruments. And that's about the safest thing they could have done for their 4th record, to write a Harms Way record.
There's very little envelope pushing here, and that's OKAY. I cant stress this sentiment enough about the band and this album. Things you would expect to hear more of on this record are all but absent (breakdowns) and things you wouldn’t expect to hear (melodies) are sparse or drowned out by the industrial touches. The added industrial elements are a welcomed addition, but in my opinion are not necessary and rarely add anything of substance or depth to any one song.
When thinking about the bands discography, and their inherent desire to break the mold of typical bands in their genre, I feel like Harms Way has already done an excellent job of doing that. I don’t want them to start adding guitar solos, I don’t need longer songs or more intricate songs. I know what a Harms Way record should be and “Posthuman” feels like a true and inspired continuation of what the band has become so good at making.
The one thing that I felt was a little lacking or different on this record is the guitar tone. On “Rust” it was to me, the best the band had ever sounded sonically, the guitars were distinctly heavy and crushing in tone, a solid mix of crunchy and low end where as on “Posthuman” they feel a little dialed back with a slight bit more low end than crunch unlike on “Rust”. Even Pligge’s vocals seem to suffer from this same thing at some points. But despite that, this is the clearest the band has ever sounded as well. You get a true sense of immersion and can hear every chugging, barreling, pummeling riff, every piece of the drum kit that is hit sounds crisp and bright to the ears, this is easily the best the drums have ever sounded.
The opening track “Human Carrying Capacity” is an excellent and grandiose way to start this record, and my favorite song “Dissect Me” is one of the more forward thinking and unique sounding songs they’ve ever done. The more progressive parts of “Posthuman” get lost somewhere in the mix of the band writing to their strengths while trying new things that done quite mesh.
All in all, “Posthuman” takes some chances that are just fine and definitely keep the band above their peers in terms of uniqueness, but I felt overall they played it safe with this record.
One last thing to mention is how grimly beautiful the art direction/cover is for "Posthuman" it is a notch above a lot of typical metal/hardcore covers these days and I love the way it looks.
“Posthuman” gets a solid 7/10