01. Smile Pretty 02. Baristas Get Stalked 03. Bargains Only 04. Caseydriver 05. We've Come for Your Daughters 06. Easy Prey 07. All This Time I Thought Your Name was Cool Dude 08. The Burly Spur 09. Your Name is Shit 10. Introducing The Creeker Sneaker 11. Settle Here2002 Hydra Head Records
Botch has been an inspiration for more than a handful of bands. These days you can see their influence in bands like Every Time I Die, Breather Resist, and now Harkonen. Amongst the barrage of Botch derivatives that have been turning up since the late 90's, when Botch made their mark with "American Nervosa," it's getting harder and harder to weed out the clones from the original bands. Hydra Head has the knack for finding talent that all-encompass the same influences. But somehow, each band makes the sound their own and they add just enough originality to keep the style, and each release, fresh. I must start by stating that I have had no prior experience with Harkonen (Editor's note: see an older review of the band here). Add that to the lack of a press sheet with this release, and I have little to work with as far as history. I do know that these guys released 3 7"s, one CDep and a full length, all on various labels. Hydra Head released the CDep entitled "The Grizz" and I hear that it's a good listen. Like I said before, all Hydra Head releases tend to stick to the general Godflesh-style and that more than satisfies my hunger for sludge-rock (I guess that's what happens when the label owner is frontman Aaron Turner of Isis). Harkonen are no different than the typical Hydra Head band, sludge-rock with tons of Botch influence thrown into this blender. The mix is a healthy dose of virulent Armageddon to rot your ears too. The single best aspect of Harkonen is that they don't stick to their guns on any two songs. They are total stoner rock one minute only to be become upbeat technical hardcore the next. I sense Botch fans drooling for hours over "Shake Harder Boy." Anyway, enough with the Botch comparisons. These guys also draw a huge Clutch influence to go along with this seemingly melodic math-sludge-rock symphony. I cannot wait to see this band live. Harkonen bring back the head banging in sludge. Remember when you first heard Godflesh and it was just so fucking heavy that you couldn't help but slam your head back and forth until your neck felt as if it would fall off Yep, those were the good ole' days. Well, if you can remember how good you felt after that experience, there is a good chance that memory could be rehashed in the form of "Shake Harder Boy." Songs like album opener "Smile Pretty" explode into a massive display of full-throttle sludge misery, the fastest yet simplest cut on the record, but no less compelling. Other forcefully effective tracks include "The Burly Spur" and "Your Name is Shit." If that's enough, "All This Time I Thought Your Name Was Cool Dude" brings you down from the hurricane that just ransacked your entire neighborhood. The use of keyboards (Moog) in this epic allows you to take a breather before yet another audio onslaught. Bottom Line: There is something great about this band Harkonen and it's harder than it looks to describe on paper. For lack of better words, it totally kicks ass! If a song like "Introducing the Creeker Sneaker" doesn't grab you by the balls and twist for all its worth, then I don't know what will. The next part is all up to you. To buy or not to buy, that is the question. I got a cardboard sleeve promo of this record and I can tell you straight up that I will be purchasing this record soon enough.