You’ve heard black metal at least once in your life. Have you heard post-black metal though? How about post-post-black metal? All kidding aside, there’s always some infectious brand of metal brewing over in Europe, and PBM-ers Harakiri For The Sky demonstrate that clearly. Their fifth record, Mӕre, showcases the ongoing evolution of their soaring black metal meets hardcore prototype in the span of 10 numbers, the majority of which are pretty lengthy but suit the act and its music well.
Take track 1, “I, Pallbearer”; a gradual construction of the atmosphere, a measured build up to the inevitable spillover point into a wall of guitar backboned by mid-tempo blast beats. “Sing For The Damage We’ve Done” kicks those blasts up in tempo a bit more and throws in double bass for good measure, the ringing axe leads and vocals demonstrating more of Harakiri’s post-hardcore inclinations. “Us Against December Skies” comes across a bit more somber but nevertheless massive and energetic, for contrast “I’m All About The Dusk” briefly trades in the blazing metal of “Damage” and “Skies” for a relative dragger you can sit back and immerse yourself in without having your eardrums pulverized. “Three Empty Words” switches gears back to the “I, Pallbearer” approach, and while it’s still entrancing and hits pretty hard it could have been executed effectively in far less than 9 and a half minutes- one of the few times in the record you might notice how long the song is actually going on for.
“Once Upon A Winter” follows without significant differ from “Three Empty Words”; the defining, discerning feature of the track being a short, melodic clean guitar break around 2 minutes in. “And Oceans Between Us” has more of its own character, the keys towards the end providing a nice textural touch; those same keys create a beautiful intro on “Silver Needle // Golden Dawn” that smoothly sets up the body of the track. In a somewhat unexpected turn given the minimal dynamic shift throughout the record thus far, “Time Is A Ghost” begins acoustically before launching into another nimble-fingered, fire-footed Harakiri template number; the closer “Song To Say Goodbye” goes a step further and sprinkles keys throughout the track instead of restricting them to the beginning or end. It’s a nice, logical touch for the finale, but even if we only get 15 seconds of instrumental versatility at the beginning it’s a nice reprieve from the overwhelming core of the album.
Mӕre works as a niche record in a niche market, and is a great one to recline and forget about everything to. With that said, it suffers from a lack of switch-up and the length of the songs make it doubly obvious; had both the proclivity towards drinking from the same well several times over so to speak and taking extra long drinks at that been cut off at a more reasonable point there wouldn’t be as much risk of boring people out after a certain amount of time. Perhaps that’s just the conventional listener’s viewpoint of a record like this, as mentioned before it’s not an effort intended for mass consumption. There is a bit more of a mix in the last few songs though, so perhaps they sensed a similar trend in their tracklist and threw some slight variations in for good measure; it could also be bits and pieces of continuing artistic development into the future. Whatever it is, it sounds good, so let Harakiri’s instincts take them where they may and let’s see what happens.