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The wayward Scots - 87%

Towards The Inevitable, May 30th, 2015

Haar from Edinburgh are another in line of those bands whose sound will ring very familiar to extreme metal audience, yet it is somehow hard to tag them with a label and put them neatly into some drawer. The fact that almost entire material presented on The Wayward Ceremony flows in mesmerizing mid tempo will inevitably conjure recollections of albums like Tiamtü or Dödens Evangelium, but an insightful listener will hardly avoid the references to Deathspell Omega as well, considering the significant similarities in overall atmosphere between this musical experience and the recent output of the mysterious Frenchmen (their Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining The Katechon EP more so than anything else). However, this is not to say there is anything discordant or chaotic about Haar’s music, and this band is definitely not on a mission to question and deconstruct all the principles the conventional metal is based on, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. Perceiving these guys as an entity that serves in the temple of form and structure would be much more accurate observation, as their music is all about the melody, proportion and carefully conceived arrangements.

Still, none of that necessarily implies quality. As we all know, the songwriting abilities are what counts in this game and, considering this is only a debut of these young Scots, let me put it this way – there is hardly anything wayward about The Wayward Ceremony.

The opening track All Man’s Redemption stands as the best possible testimony to that claim, there is no need to go any further. The guitar sequence at the beginning, the way they build dynamic of the song by placing layer after layer of outstanding riffs, only to culminate at the 3:16 mark with that amazing guitar break – absolutely nothing about this song indicates a beginner’s effort. Which leads us to the true highlight of this album and that is the outstanding guitar work. Literally every song on The Wayward Ceremony has some interesting and contagious guitar hook that is catchy and apt to get instantly remembered, and thanks to those bits this album just doesn’t get tedious or tiresome, in spite of featuring no less than three 10 minute songs.

The rest of the delivery doesn’t fall too far behind either. Vocals are convincing, with a lot of authentic grit to them, which also can be said for the drumming and the production. Everything sounds tight, professional and personal, both the musicians themselves and the way their sweat was transferred to the tape.

Upon looking at the front cover picture, one will immediately recognize Costin Chioreanu’s signature style and he really did a superb job here. Not in a sense that the picture sounds like the album, nor that the album looks like the picture, but in a sense that bleak, apocalyptic and somewhat abstract image complements the atmosphere of the record quite well.

All in all, The Wayward Ceremony is a very promising and highly enjoyable debut, and as far as I’m concerned, from this moment on The Exploited stops being the only point of reference I can think of when someone mentions Edinburg. I will definitely keep an eye on these Scottish cold sea fog representatives and their future endeavors.

Towards The Inevitable