Harmoniaq – The Forest of Torment
Release Date: 30/04/22
Running Time: 28:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
Blending a variety of styles, the debut release from Ottawa Quintet Harmoniaq is something of a mixed bag. There’s Thrash, Death, and Black Metal fighting for air alongside more traditional metal styles here, and whilst it works at times, there are distinct sections that leave you scratching your head.
The release opens with “The Forest of Torment”, a seven-minute blast which combines cookie monster Death Metal vocals of the Corpsegrinder nature with some rather unsavoury screamo-style screeches which don’t add to the delivery. I’d have much preferred if the band had chosen the former style and left it at that, for as a Death Metal delivery, laced with some searing lead guitar work, it stands up well on its own. The decision to drop into the more ethereal Black Metal standards is interesting and generally works okay. There is plenty of heaviness, an underlying groove, and some frantic drumming.
‘Warmageddon’ follows, a blustering bag of bruising aggression that breaks early for some crisp clean guitar work before descending the depths whilst the solos continue to play. The strangulated delivery that is placed on top of the solos isn’t ideal, distracting from some decent playing. It’s a schizophrenic song that once more isn’t helped by the more feral vocal style.
And it continues. ‘Death Knell’ is a shorter, more straightforward blast of extreme, whilst ‘Calamity Unfolds’ temporarily broods before thundering into a blisteringly fast song that is an explosive beast of a track. It’s as close to pure Death Metal as we get although the unconventional starts and stops make it less orthodox. The track develops with an elongated groove vibe and some more lead work. It’s frantic stuff.
The finale is ‘The Void’, which starts with an intricate guitar piece before segueing into even more groove-fashioned thrashing. It’s another song that combines numerous styles, incorporating elements of thrash into the mix before almost slowing to a crawl and instrumental section and then climbing once more. I appreciate the variation; it works on several levels although I’m still struggling with the vocal delivery at times.
There are some interesting concepts and styles within this release. It’s certainly of interest and I genuinely like parts of the songs. The abrupt stop-start in parts grated. There is potential here, and a second release would certainly be on my list for a listen.
‘A Calamity Unforetold’ Official Visualizer
01. The Forest of Torment
03. Death Knell
04. A Calamity Unforetold
05. The Void
André Dubien – All Vocals
Miguel Marcheterre-Pina – Rhythm/Lead/Clean Guitars
Jean-François Lévesque – Rhythm/Lead/Clean Guitars
Jacob Collins -Drums
Adam Semler – Fretless Bass
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