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Half-Speed Hatebreed - 20%

FullMetalAttorney, January 8th, 2011

Haarp is a New Orleans sludge/doom band on Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records, and anyone who's followed my reviews will know I'm a big fan of the style. The Filth is their first full-length.

Sludge/doom has had an increase in popularity generally, with the Atlanta and New Orleans scenes generating a lot of interest. The problem with this state of affairs is that you get a lot more of the bad with the good. Haarp is some of the bad. Their sound is a lot like Kingdom of Sorrow or Crowbar, but slower. It's heavy, slow, simple music with the occasional guitar solo. The vocals are in the tough guy hardcore style, with a lot of drawn-out growls--in other words, almost exactly like Jamey Jasta's work with KoS. The guitar tone is almost exactly the same as well.

None of that is necessarily a bad thing. But when your riffs are uninspired and boring, well, that is a bad thing. There are a few passable tracks, like the opener, but not a single riff on here is memorable. All of it tends to run together into an hour-long blur of vapid, going-through-the-motions sludge. Think about how idiotically stupid Hatebreed is. Now, imagine it at half the speed, and with dark lyrics instead of circle-jerking hardcore buddy punk lyrics. Voila, you have Haarp. Still idiotically stupid, so it's not going to get all the bearded sludge types on board, but now it doesn't have the adrenaline rush to appeal to the shaved-head hardcore types.

The Verdict: You could do a whole hell of a lot better than buy this album. And this is the problem with Anselmo--he likes hardcore too much, and he'll release an album for somebody he likes even if they aren't any good. For something a lot better in a (slightly) similar style I'd go with Cough or Salome.

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