HARK‘s second album Machinations brings into account all of their time playing with some of the stoner world’s biggest bands. They’ve honed their ideas and made their sophomore album a bag of hard, intricate tracks that flow into a thing of great notoriety.
Fortune Favours The Insane has a mix of good and bad elements for a first track on an album. The opening riff will have your ears pricked, and keeps a good momentum up. The overall delivery from the vocals is where the uncertainty comes in. while there’s a good gravel to the delivery, occasional vibrato takes something away from the performance. Nevertheless, the ending is worth staying around for, as the punk edge jumps up a level and unleashes some unexpected riffing that just grabs you.
Disintegrate starts off in a much more hard rock tone, and the vocals marry up to the heavy rock tone of the music this time. It’s not quite as much an onslaught this time, an ebb and wave of the fast and the slower, more stoner elements. A very interesting track overall, and rather subtle with its embellishing of decent riff work. Nine Fates brings in some more emotional playing this time, nicely displaying some range and demonstrating that this isn’t just going to be a push and punch kind of album. There’s a funny feeling somewhere between southern rock and progressive here, and it’s a very convincing track overall, one to return to and one that shows just what HARK are capable of.
Speak In Tongues has some nice tones over it, while it maintains its energy. For definite, HARK get better on this album as it goes through. It’s nice to have some really diverse moments in an album like this. While the direct comparison to something like FOO FIIGHTERS is easy, there’s also some CLUTCH, FU MANCHU and even MASTODON in there. Similarly, Transmuation is another solid song, a lot of fun, with some toned-down moments to just rock your head to and close your eyes. A good point to introduce this track, one with some exceptional playing, that you can truly sit back and enjoy. A highlight here is Son of Pythagoras, as sounds like it means business when it opens, there’s just a little more malevolence in it than previous tracks, and for a song with a mathsy title, it is by no means dull. If they taught this at school, you’d have been more attentive for sure. Fuzzy, chucky, sizzling, thick and sweaty is what this track evokes. It’s good, boys and girls, it’s really good.
Premonitions takes off from the last track like a gasp of air from that sticky construction, and expects you to throw yourself head first again at the music. This is an album that seems to be keeping its better tracks towards the latter end of the playlist, so if you hadn’t been convinced by the beginning then it’s well worth hanging around for the sound performance due by the records closing numbers. This flows seamlessly into the tranquil opening moments of Comnixant 3-0, our penultimate track. A totally instrumental piece, it might be a little self-indulgent for some, but is a beautiful pause to the harder tracks on this record regardless.
You’ll need that little seconds to yourself too, as The Purge is here to leave an impact upon your departure from the journey with HARK. Stoner Rock through and through here, it’s not as strong as some of the other tracks straight off the bat, perhaps playing a little too long at nearly nine minutes, but over repeat listens it shows some experimental progression that can’t be knocked.
After a slightly wobbly start, this is a cracking album that shows a depth of understanding that Stoner Rock is not just simple stuff, but has some wicked, thick tones and superb riffs that catch your ear and won’t be gentle with them.
Machinations is out now via Season of Mist.
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