Review: Harvestman – Music For Megaliths

Painstakingly created, Harvestman’s third album is a solo project in every sense of the word. Neurosis main man Steve Von Till performs everything from guitars to hurdy gurdy to grendel drone to synthesisers on the release, and even recorded the album at his home studio in Idaho.

Throughout, Von Till creates epic soundscapes centred around drone as if the album is the sound of the stone megaliths for which it is named humming with a mystical power. Von Till merges this drone with psychedelia, doom and folk in an album imbued with a melancholic spirituality that retains the experimental nature of Neurosis, but embraces a different form of heaviness, one more reliant on an intense atmosphere of foreboding.

Music For Megaliths’ style is an experimental one that seldom finds itself confined by genre boundaries. Instead, Von Till creates a coherent style by maintaining a consistent supernatural concept that remains despite the release drifting from folky psychedelia to doomy drone. ‘Ring Of Sentinels’ relies on electronic elements, but retains a pagan air of spiritual enchantment like a 21st century-inclined Wardruna. Similarly, ‘The Forest Is Our Temple’ sounds befitting of an ancient ritual but is underpinned by pulsating synths and the doomy vibes of ‘Levitation’ retain a gloomy atmospheric weight but, unlike Neurosis, this mood festers rather than bursting into pounding percussion and roaring riffs. If one song breaks the cohesive mystical air, it’s the huge droning of ‘Sundown’, which booms louder than a foghorn but with a sinister layer of ominous interference that’s more Blade Runner than Vikings.

Music For Megaliths is memorable for its original blend of new and old. Taking inspiration from megaliths so pre-historic their purpose is unknown to us now, Von Till is able to provide a unique take on a historical concept with modern instrumentation. He sees this ambition through remarkably well and with a large scope despite the release’s rather solitary creation to create a listening experience characterised by an otherworldly charm that’s as captivating as it is deeply unnerving.

Music For Megaliths is out now on Neurot Recordings. Purchase here.

Words: George Parr

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