Harbinger – Human Dust


Taking another leap forward on the path to excellence

Released on 16 June 2017 by Basick Records and reviewed by Stephen Brophy

London’s Harbinger are back with a follow up to 2016’s Paroxysm EP (reviewed here), which was an excellent introduction to their particular brand of technical death metal showing a lot of potential and blending pure aggression with excellent melodic segments. This EP takes it another step further, adding a wider variety of elements into their punishing music. Opening track ‘The End of Time’, a crusher, very much in your face and the drumming is just absolutely pummelling, as it is through the rest of the EP. It’s not just low and grim, vocals switch to a much higher pitched scream at times which aligns with the guitars and sounds great. Bass throughout this release is slightly understated, but that’s because it is so damn solid.

There are moments of clarity and melody mixed in with the aggression, which is great and it works to make a really nicely balanced set of tracks. ‘Humanity’s Limit’ being a perfect example, with a chunky, grinding, granite like riff running right through the middle of it holding everything together with the blasting drums and then there are just layers on top with screaming solos alongside the mix of guttural and clean vocals from Tom Gardner, which is just excellent. As with most guttural/clean vocalists that really work, it is very much like Tom is two separate people and on this EP everything sounds that bit more polished, bigger and this helps to show the progression they have made over the past year.

The variety in tracks helps to keep the whole thing sounding fresh, styles are mixed, new things are being tried in small segments of each song, don’t want to sound like a broken record but the interplay of melody in almost every track, just take the guitar section almost two and a half minutes into ‘Psychosomatic’ that then just gets obliterated almost immediately, it all adds to the experience. Harbinger have something a bit different to the crowd, there seems to be a lot of thought behind how they piece it all together that bodes well for the future.

The title track goes straight for the balls, a low blow that brings you to your knees but somehow brings a smile of satisfaction to your face through the pain, a persistent ripper with a flicking riff weaving a way right around it. This EP again shows huge potential while at the same time the band have already stepped up a level, which all bodes well for the future. They remind me in places of what Whitechapel are trying to achieve, and that’s no bad thing either. If you are at Tech-Fest between 6 and 10 July, don’t miss out on this band on their Saturday slot for a band on the rise.

Harbinger – Human DustTrack list:

  1. The End Of Time
  2. Humanity’s Limit
  3. Psychosomatic
  4. The Darkness Of June
  5. Human Dust
  6. Captive/Hated