Harlott – Proliferation


An absolute blinder!

Review by Stephen Brophy

Metal Blade Records

Release date: 18 September 2015

As a thrash fan, if this album doesn’t put a smile on your face it may just be time to give it all up. Melbourne quartet have created an absolute blinder in Proliferation. No frills, straight down to business, and the title track drags you kicking and screaming out of the late 80’s and into a new era of furious fretwork. A savage rhythm section and vocals reminiscent of some of the classic bands, this is old and new in one and it’s bloody excellent. Proliferation is the follow up to 2013’s very well received Origin, and it is in a lot of ways exactly that, but there appears to be a little more depth in the twelve hard and fast tracks on offer here.

Where to start? There aren’t any weak songs on here. The title track ‘Proliferation’ goes straight for the throat. After the brief intro, it transforms into a monster with screeching solos jumping in and out and it’s just spot on. Although there was nothing wrong with the vocals on their previous full length, this time around they are even better. Andy Hudson has done a terrific job with not only spitting out some excellent and aggressive lyrics but also sharing lead guitar duties with Ryan Butler. And these boys shred! Title track aside, other standouts here are ‘Denature’ and ‘Systematic Reduction’, neither of which give you any time to catch your breath. Smacking you straight in the face, although the latter weighs in at only one minute and thirty five seconds, it’s all muscle.

‘Hellbent’ is another furious fretboard attack that you can’t help but start moving your head to. It’s bloody hard to keep still while this album is playing and as much as anything that’s a sign of how good a job Harlott has done here. It’s probably the most difficult time I’ve had this year picking out the best tracks on an album as they all have their own signatures. ‘Bloodlust’ is a manic ride. One of the faster songs on the album, it just rips along at a blistering pace. But the track that probably stands out the most is ‘Cross Contamination’ which in my opinion should be the first single. It has a familiar feel about it but there is enough of their own stamp on it to allow it to hold its own.

The whole thing is so well balanced it just puts a big smile on your face and makes you want to jump back in the pit. That may be a young man’s game but this album will certainly get some old heads moving too. In many ways, Proliferation harks back to the golden age of Thrash – some of the guitar tones reminds me of classic Slayer and a touch of Exodus – but it’s new and it’s fresh and the production is very clean and crisp. There are places that will remind you of the greats of the genre, but instead of sounding copied or lifted, it retains the best qualities of some of the leading protagonists. If you love thrash, go pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed. Definitely one of the most rifftastic albums in a long, long time.

Harlott - Proliferation20159 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Proliferation
  2. Denature
  3. Systematic Reduction
  4. Restless
  5. The Fading Light
  6. Lord Of War
  7. Civil Unrest
  8. Hellbent
  9. Bloodlust
  10. Cross Contamination
  11. Legion
  12. Means To An End