By Ryan Falla
There’s a new band ready to claim the crown of speed metal kings, and that band is Harlott from Melbourne, Australia. Releasing their much anticipated third record ‘Extinction’ to a quickly growing fanbase, Harlott shows those who aren’t in the know why they’ve been burning through the metal scene in hyperspeed. It’s no question that Harlott pulls a ton of their influences from the ’80s thrash metal scene, the influences from bands like Slayer are apparent but not overwhelming to the point where the band washes out their own identity by attempting to take on a conglomeration of the many thrash metal personalities to come out of the ’80s.
Harlott is extremely old-school in their approach, it’s just pure speed-metal; no fancy addendums or experimentation. This is completely unapologetic speed-metal, it’s almost as if someone snatched this band directly from the ’80s and dropped them into the modern era to see how they would fare. That is how genuine Harlott sounds in their classic speed metal approach, there’s no appropriation of multiple metal identities to attempt a unique face for the band.
Whatever was in the alcohol all the future thrash gods of the ’80s were drinking probably runs rampant in Australia, we all know the stories of how deadly the wildlife is in Australia compared to the rest of the world. Spiders the size of rats and spiders with venom deadly enough to wipe out a small village, there has to be something in the beer and general atmosphere that pushes testosterone to unprecedented limits; I mean Steve Irwin is one of their most mellow dudes for christsakes and he was a god of a man. It only makes sense that the country that produces some of the manliest men would give birth to one of the best metal bands in the scene right now, period.
Yes, I do genuinely believe Harlott is one of the best metal bands making their way to the top; better than the current modern era kings of recognizability in Mastodon. Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny they are the most notable metal band in the modern scene next to Ghost (if you want to bring Five Finger Death Punch into the conversation I’d prefer you close this article out now). The quality of these bands can be debated, though their reach among both mainstream cannot; Harlott reigns in the sense that the quality of music cannot be debated. ‘Extinction’ is Big 4 levels of quality, this is the kind of album that would keep guys like Anthrax and Megadeth on their toes; Harlott is the kind of band with the quality to compete on the highest levels and completely dominate.
Not only is the quality of their music beyond anything I’ve expected out of a speed metal band in this day and age, it competes with what I’ve grown accustomed to from my favorites; albums like ‘Among the Living’ and ‘South of Heaven’ have found a worthy competitor 30 years later. The talent among these musicians is astounding, not only is their songwriting dynamic and memorable but the skill present is beyond the stars. The godly guitar work by Andrew Hudson and Ryan Butler, the blisteringly god-mode drumming by Tim Joyce and the godly bass work by Tomas Richards that could embarrass modern guitar players; it’s all just so beyond putting words on their talent that only feelings indescribable with modern vocabulary can be applied to Harlott and the record ‘Extinction’.
This is hands down one of the best thrash metal records I have heard since I was first introduced to thrash metal. I am kidding you not, slip it into an ’80s thrash metal playlist and it would be indiscernible. It’s not just the fact that this album fits perfectly in the mould set by the early constructors of the genre, it blasts the mould into pieces. ‘Extinction’ seems like the perfect continuation of the what was set down by thrash metal kings so long ago; even more so than the actual continuation by bands still around from the day and age. You know who I’m talking about, those bands that have dropped their tuning and slowed their riffage in what seems less like a continuation of their music and more of a complacency. Harlott, however, picks up where those bands dropped the torch so long ago and lights it ablaze with the fires of speed-metal agony.
Harlott, as long as they continue at the pace they are now, will grow to dominate the metal scene from a throne of Iron and Fire. Some would say that it’s far too early to call album of the year, but when Harlott drops an album with as scorching a quality as ‘Exctinction’ it really isn’t too early to call it that.
Album of the year. Hell, show me a speed-metal album from the last decade that can compete with the record ‘Extinction’. I’ll wait; seriously, If you have a speed metal album that can stand up to the steel tower that is ‘Extinction’ I want to hear it. Bonus points if it’s an album from a band from the ’80s that created the formula Harlott runs away with (spoiler alert: they stopped making albums this good in the ’80s).
Harlott is the next level of metal evolution. They are the next step in the path deviated from many years ago.
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Record Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: April 7th 2017
01. Extinction (5:53)
02. First World Solutions (3:55)
03. The Penitent (5:00)
04. Whore (3:03)
05. No Past (3:56)
06. Conflict Revelation (3:36)
07. Better Off Dead (4:42)
08. Violent Conspirator (1:41)
09. And Darkness Brings The Light (7:39)
10. Final Weapon (2:20)
11. Parasite (4:59)
12. Epitaph (4:43)
Total Duration: 51:27