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Simply amazing - 100%

Pratl1971, February 28th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, 2CD, Cold Dark Matter Records (Limited edition)

The great thing about being into music is that no matter how long I've been listening to metal music (40-years this summer, to be exact) there will always be a band that pops up on the radar that I've never heard of for whatever reason. I honestly thought I knew almost every great band in Norway from 1992 on, but even old farts get pleasantly surprised on occasion.

If not for the recent reissue of the Hybreed CD, Red Harvest might have taken even longer to get into my psyche. The best way I can describe this band's sound, circa 1996, is that it's slower, crunchier thrash with just a infinitesimal hint of doom and more-than-generous sprinkles of industrial hanging over the music like an erratic storm cloud. After sitting through it for the second time, I can't believe this band passed under my nose for so long.

What I find particularly interesting is how the tracks don't necessarily follow a “flow chart,” yet nothing seems out of place. It is, quite literally, the definition of a perfect potpourri in terms of musical content for one release. The transitioning between tracks is about as even as I've ever heard. The vocals bounce back and forth between a echoing yell that almost begs to be heard and a distorted bevy of muddled narratives that cause rapid brain activity. For example, a track like 'After All...' provides a meshing of the aforementioned “calling out” and a haunting spoken verbiage seemingly from a dark and damp cellar, only to merge carefully and cautiously into the industrialized instrumental track, 'Ozrham,' like a finely-crafted muscle car shifting into 3rd gear. The nearly 10-minutes spent inside this track are enough to assuage even the most ardent critic of the two genres colliding ever so surreptitiously, even if bands like Fear Factory have made the marriage acceptable on the more commercial scale in recent years.

The even flow of the styles condensed herein is just amazing on so many levels. Usually when I sit down to ingest a certain album by a band, I get a feel and general knowledge of what the band is about ahead of time, but nothing I read could have prepared for me for the perfect blender-mix of what Hybreed houses. Some might also get the notion that the album would be pedantic with the length of the songs, but I can honestly say that nothing ever seems bothersome or boring at their selected time frames. Everything on this CD is just flawless in both presentation and design.

This reissued set comes with bonus CD of two extra tracks, 'In Deep' and 'The Burning Wheel,' both of which assume their rightful place among the elitism of the original tracks. It also showcases tracks from the band's performance at BlastFest last year, which panders to the heavier side of the band's repertoire with tremendous results. This isn't just some fluke studio band built for speed and endurance within the confines of the studio walls; this is the real deal through and through, leaving nothing out in the live setting. Some CD's by many bands are reissued and you're left to wonder why the cash grab machine is sullying the senses with tripe that sucked the first time around. Red Harvest is no such slouch, and Hybreed deserves to be heard by many new ears some 20-years later – after all, it took this old man 20-years to find them, so some things old can be new again.

This has to be the single best industrial / metal album these ears have ever been privy to, and I definitely want to seek out the rest of the catalog, which, by all accounts, reads like a similar play book for said musical direction.

And they say black metal was the only great export from the Norse lands....

(Originally written for www.metalbite.com)

FanTastic! - 99%

MikeyC, November 20th, 2010

It wasn’t until their fourth album Cold Dark Matter that Red Harvest started gaining any mainstream popularity, and it’s this album that I consider one of their weakest. It was this reason that I wasn’t keen on going any further backwards in their career. However, I sampled the opening track “Mazturnation” on their MySpace, enjoyed it, ordered HyBreed, and this is now one of my favourite albums in my ever-growing collection.

As a whole, HyBreed doesn’t reach many high speeds. A lot of the album is played at a slow tempo and some songs, even the longer ones, remain the same tempo throughout. The shorter songs, such as “Mazturnation” and “Mutant,” are a little faster. Most of the songs have a similar theme, too, sticking with the one idea from beginning to end.

That’s where the albums strength, or flaw, comes into play: its repetition. Basically every song has a main riff, or a main idea, and doesn’t deviate at all. The song “On Sacred Ground,” for example, begins with a melodic riff with a slow drum beat over the top of it, and pretty much retains that for the entire song. Keep in mind that this song is over 6 minutes in length (the last two or so minutes are a segue to the next track), so that’s quite a risk for any band that’s not doom metal to take. “The Lone Walk” is very long, at 10 minutes, and uses two main ideas: a drum pattern for the verses and a main riff for the choruses. That’s it. Now imagine this unrelenting repetition over the course of 11 songs at 78 minutes. Is this a flaw? To some, perhaps. To me, absolutely not. In fact, this sort of repetitiveness is the exact reason why HyBreed appeals to me so much. While most of the tracks have a single idea and not a lot of progression, the main meat of the songs are just really damn catchy. Red Harvest managed to create something brilliant out of less than two dozen riffs, I’m sure.

A lot of the songs here are absolute genius, mind you. “The Lone Walk” has a nice main tom pattern on the drums before giving way to an epic chorus section, which occurs several times in the song. “Mutant” contains a lovely bouncy riff with some great guitar sounds in the background and some lovely double kick. “Ozrham” is a 9-minute industrial filler track that never gets boring and reaches some lovely heights at the end, before segueing with the same water-like noises you’ll hear at the opening of the album A Greater Darkness. “On Sacred Ground” is probably the most melodic track, slow and almost doom-like. “Monumental” continues that melody in ways you have to hear to believe, and this song contains the single best use of a splash cymbal I’ve ever heard. One of my favourite songs from this band by a long shot.

My description of the album, saying it’s very repetitive, isn’t going to sway many people to hear this. The fact that it’s 78 minutes won’t help, either. However, for me, this is THE Red Harvest album that has basically ruined me for the rest of their discography. It’s melodic, yet not too melodic, it’s got a lot of industrial breaks and sounds all through it, and the songs they’ve written, while stylistically simple, will hook you in and keep you interested until the final sound fades out. Very, very highly recommended for anyone into Red Harvest or industrial metal.