ALBUM REVIEW: Posthuman – Harm’s Way

Having made the rounds of the hardcore circuit for over 10 years now, HARM’S WAY are no strangers to grinding the hardcore underground. Going through phases of powerviolence, industrial, and straight-up hardcore over their first three albums, their fourth release, Posthuman, was greatly anticipated. In a press release for the album, guitarist Bo Lueders sums up their intention with Posthuman; “To a HARM’S WAY fan, I would describe Posthuman as a blend of Isolation(2011) and Rust (2015), but it’s sonically way more insane. To anyone else, I would simply say it’s full on heavy and full on aggression.”

Without a doubt, the band have achieved that goal. What is delivered on Posthuman is a metallic hardcore record of breathtaking aggression, depth, and brutality. From the rich, catchy grooves of songs like Human Carrying Capacity to the dark, atmospheric, industrial sounds of The Gift, ten tracks takes the listener on a sonic journey through a dystopian, bleak and violent soundscape. It has everything that a fan of the genre would want – huge, disgusting riffs, punishing breakdowns and the raw vocal talent of James Pligge to complement the violence of the instrumentals. On top of that the mix from legendary producer Will Putney is exactly what the band needed to make their sound as huge as possible. Chris Mills’ drums pummel through the mix, with fuzz-laden, raw rhythm guitar taking the lead in order to push the riffs as much as possible sonically.

Picking highlights from Posthuman is difficult as their trademark bone-crunching, pit-inducing moments come thick and fast on almost every song. Human Carrying Capacity takes the lead on the record admirably, with a groove that will stick in every listener’s head, whilst Become A Machine brings a breakdown in its second half huge enough to level buildings. Temptation comes through slower, building up an atmosphere throughout the song that culminates in a chugging barrage at the end of the song, showcasing the guitarists’ incredible raw tone. The last two tracks – the burgeoning industrial synth of The Gift and the heaviness of closer Dead Space leave in the listener a feeling of oppression and loss. Posthuman is the concept for the record, the idea of a world progressing towards overpopulation, technological obsession, and a nihilistic ideology. Pligge explains this concept for Metal Blade Records – “It highlights the idea that our purpose in life unfortunately means nothing, and we are just a cosmic mistake that will eventually be forgotten. It’s essentially a refutation of the idea that there is some grand design and greater purpose for being here on Earth.”

Sonically, HARM’S WAY hit the nail on the head with this bleak concept. Posthuman is exactly what it says on the tin – crushing, atmospheric, brutal and aggressive, and with the backing of Metal Blade, it is undoubtedly a record that will elevate them to sharing stages with the heavy-hitters of the genre. It also opens them up to a vast array of new fans – bands like KNOCKED LOOSE, and CODE ORANGE who are currently laying waste to huge venues across the world, are sure to love HARM’S WAY‘s new sound. Watch this space.

Rating: 8/10

Posthuman - Harm's Way

Posthuman is set for release on February 9th via Metal Blade Records.

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