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During my industrial metal phase, Red Harvest was a band I had heard of but not really gotten into, just having heard a few scattered songs here and there. Definitely good, but somehow my interest wasn't really piqued for some reason. Then I heard this album in its entirity and was subsequently floored. Sure they have had some killer songs on their past albums plus Internal Punishment Programs and Cold Dark Matter are kickass albums in their own right, but man, ultimately this is the album to beat. Sure Internal Punishment Programs as a whole does come pretty close, but still, at the end of the day this album is right up there with all the classics of the genre. Also unlike a lot of bands out there, they've tried something new with almost every second release of theirs and come out in spades for the most part, which is definitely not something a lot of metal bands out there can boast of.
One of the main things that sets this album apart from most of its other peers is that there is a superb blend of the fast and slow side of industrial music in a metal format, not just on a song-by-song basis, but rather within the songs themselves. "Cybernaut" and "Beyond The End" should be enough of an indication of that fact. Pretty much like the twin scenarios of 1) Magma slowly pouring out of the crust of the Earth and 2) A super-volcano explosively blowing a million tons of rock and lava into the planet's atmosphere, both happening side by side. While that comparison might sound a bit too weird and outlandish for a lot of you to digest, I do hope you get the drift once you're done listening to the album in any case. While bands like Origin and The Berzerker go for the rat-tat-tat super-fast 280-300 BPM aircraft-breaking-the-damn-sound barrier approach with little to no space for any variety to enter the picture, these guys are not at all afraid to slow things down a bit and experiment whenever the feel of the music demands it, which is truly refreshing. Quite the unique trait for an industrial metal band, that's for sure. I haven't even heard the original song, but the cover of "Dead Men Don't Rape" does kick your teeth right in, with just the right amount of a pummeling thrash influence mixed with the bands trademark sound.
Also the slower feel of the album in parts (Songs like "Humanoia" for example) gives off an almost doomish vibe in their vicious concoction of industrial extreme metal, adding to the variety of the album as a whole. Bur fear not as these guys are not all about relentlessness through and through. You'll actually be quite surprised to find out just how subtly melodic and entrancing some of the songs are, once you dig deep a little. Hell I know I was. The guitars are mainly percussive with a few floating and echoing melodies here and there, very intricately woven into the hammering chugs and pounding riffs making the heavy parts sound even heavier. The song "Weltschmerz" should be enough of an indication of the true meaning of that previous statement. Overall this album has such a dark and eerie feeling to it with a hidden morose-drenched atmosphere (that tends to surface every now and then) that simply cannot be put into mere words. You just have to seek out this album and experience it for yourself. By pretty much this factor alone, (with a few exceptions) Sick Transit Gloria Mundi does set itself way apart from most of the other (read: generic) industrial albums out there.
The vocals are raw and venomous along with the vicious guitars and the pulsating industrial and electronic elements, all combining to form one sledgehammer of an album to boot. Be it the killer thrash assault of the blistering opener "A.E.P" and the title track, the creepy uneasiness of "Godtech" with its slime covered riffs and cavernous atmosphere, the echoing atmospheric assault of "Desolation" or the suffocating underwater vibe of "Dead" - all the damn songs are complete fucking scorchers from start to finish. After every listen of the album, I just can't help but ask myself "Why the heck did these guys have to break up?" Also, just a little heads up - this album was released all the way back in 2002 so if they were this freaking good back then, I shudder to think how earth-shatteringly apocalyptic and destructive their music would be now, had they managed to stick around.
If you consider yourself a respectable fan of industrial/death or extreme metal in general, you definitely owe it to yourself to track down this direly underrated gem pronto.
I just can't praise Norwegian black metallers Red Harvest enough for what they accomplish with their releases. There are only a few bands (Thorns) who actually are able to create a modern brand of black metal without losing the cold feeling. I already wrote about this is my review of "New World Rage Music" here, but the new album "Sick Transit Gloria Mundi" (Thus Passes The Glory Of The World), again on Nocturnal Art, the combo has refined their product. Apocalyptic Cyber metal at its best!
I said "refined" but actually Red Harvest continues on the same foot they did with their earlier releases. The improvement can be found in the production (by Neil Kernon again), variation and song writing. The songs have more power, depth, diversity and quality than before. Take the opening track (after the intro) "AEP (Advanced Evolutionary Progression)" for example, an aggressive black metal hit song that you simply want to play over and over again. And of course it is impossible to stand still while listening to this track, despite the fact that it's truly breathtaking. The filthy guitars, astounding drums and Jimmy's sick voice will keep this fast track in your head for days... The speedy and violent tracks such as the before mentioned "AEP", "Humanoia" and "WeltSchmerz" are brilliantly alternated with more slow, epic tracks such as "Godtech" and "Beyond The End". The use of keyboards here causes shivers down my spine. This album produces a kind of feeling that is so cold, futuristic, paranoid, industrialized. Almost inhuman.
Talking about inhumanity, Red Harvest has done an outstanding version of G.G.F.H.'s "Dead Men Don't Rape" on this release, without losing the unique touch the original track had. Multiple layers of sound, some only audible when played with headphones on, keep this interesting for more than a dozen listens, and that counts for all tracks. The samples such as used in "WeltSchmerz" are very well chosen and placed, and only add more to the chilling atmosphere.
Red Harvest has definitely improved, but there's nothing new to find here if you're familiar with their previous outputs. Nevertheless "Sick Transit Gloria Mundi" is a depressing masterpiece that can't be missed for the regular aggressive metal fan.
Originally posted at www.musiquemachine.com
What an album. What a sound.
Those of you unfamiliar to the Red Harvest sound, should go out and buy Cold Dark Matter, but also you will no doubt be unfamiliar with the distinct brand of "apocalyptic cybermetal" that Red Harvest create.
'Create' being the operative word here, as Red Harvest don't just play music... they create dark forboding atmospheres and a sound that near enough induces the brain to feel like it is floating on an invisible layer of sludge, almost tempting you to jump from a height and see what happens.
Some have described Red Harvest's riffs as "Godflesh collapsed on Darkthrone", which whilst going someway to describing the sheer power of the guitars on this album and for this band, much credit must also be given to the synths and electronics created by LRZ - who incidentally also produced the album - as well as the precision drumming of Eric Wroldsen. Elements all of which go into making the liquid euphoria that is the experience of listening to a Red Harvest album.
Opener 'UGX' isn't really anything other than a synth loop intro, leading the way into one of the standout tracks on the album, 'AEP', which is also the track that has been used most to advertise 'Sick Transit...'.
AEP manages to blend not just outright mid-to-fast paced thrashing in an almost war-like fashion, but also adds in a few lucid intervals of melody as well. Just as the final chords of AEP blast their way out of the speakers, it's then the turn of Godtech to try and act almost like an antidote to the pure speed and frenzy of the previous track, by going at a much slower pace and creating a very much worthwhile almost transcendental piece of music.
I could try and go through the rest of each of the tracks on this album, but quite frankly I could not do them justice, and you're best off buying this album because i can assure you, you won't regret it.