(Art of Propaganda, 2016)
#FOR FANS OF: Post Black, Agalloch, Drudkh
Harakiri for the Sky is a post-black metal band from Vienna, Austria that bends the early Agalloch and later Drudkh template to their own will. This is a group that plays along the lines of Deafheaven, Fen, and Waldgefluster, a branch that has grown out from Ulver's influence and pushed a more artsy black metal direction. In a sound that intertwines the disquiet of lingering melodies with trappings of black metal's second wave intensity, Harakiri for the Sky hints at a monumental abomination in each song throughout 'III: Trauma' and sometimes leaves you high and dry with the post-black style taking the reigns. With high quality production, clean sounding guitars, and little grain to overpower the grandiose instrumentation, this is a far cry from the raw old days. Yet you can deeply inhale the palpable legacy of that earlier passion in the layers of morose melodies and fleeting furors when sorrow morphs into anger.
The Agalloch influence is most prominent in “Dry the River” where guitar notes from “The Melancholy Spirit” of Agalloch's 'Pale Folklore' play at a quick pace ringing in counterpoint to each other and bouncing harmonies off each high note in the lingering riff. In lyrics that describe a journey to unlock the mystic wisdom accumulated by personified natural phenomena, the slow build of this song impresses upon the listener. Harakiri for the Sky gives a deeply satisfying payoff of blasting through the enduring melody as the lyrics follow a metaphorical train of thought culminating in the protagonist's gunshot suicide. Feelings of melancholy and being lost turn to anger and single mindedness through the arc of this woeful mental evolution. “Dry the River” and the opening song, “Calling the Rain”, use this tempered approach to bookend a series of faster and more energetic songs. Of that middle group, “Thanatos” kicks off with an aggressive sound compared to the former languishing journeys and beefs up the vigor invoked by “Funeral Dreams” with another invasion of raw blasting. Where “Funeral Dreams” gave you a small payoff in the dynamite department, “Thanatos” rides its galloping rhythm straight into a guitar assault with blasts all around. Similar to Drudkh's later music, this sound carries forth a great exposition of the range of emotions you're bound to experience from this band with even a bit of a clean vocal delivery in the middle of the track's change-up. “Viaticum” is an anthemic piece similar to “Thanatos”. Both pieces bring in some very expressive drumming to join the simpler and catchier guitar melodies making for a memorable listen with sounds that will echo in your ears long after they are gone.
Harakiri for the Sky is quite an entertaining band and 'III: Trauma' is definitely worth a listen. Don't let the phrase post-black turn you back too quickly because even with the extra emotional parts in this album and palpable depression the band can still bring out some rage. There's a good range to this band's style with plenty of Agalloch influence in songs like “Bury Me” and “Dry the River” checking and balancing with the unfettered aggression of “Thanatos” and “Viaticum”. The desiccated petals of the new school's notes cover over the rot and decay of the older underground and are shaping an eternal burial mound.