Crush: a verb, meaning to deform. The word has many different connotations, but when used in the context of Kent three-piece Harrowed, the word crush takes on a whole new meaning. The trio’s latest offering Chaotic Nonentity is jam packed with riffs that will crush your skull and the sheer heaviness of the whole album will leave your body feeling like rubble on the floor. Hard and abrasive are descriptors which don’t do this record justice, as it goes from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye, wearing hatred and aggression on its sleeves.
Harrowed don’t hang around either, with opening track ‘Stark Terrors’ really setting the tone for what is to come, as metallic infused guitar riffs and howling screams take centre stage. But it is with ‘Postmodern Prison’ where the real statement of intent comes in, the rhythmic guitar intro topped off with the screaming vocals of Sebastian Leslie, it really does muster up a sense of dread and impending doom.
From this review it may seem that Harrowed are just another dark hardcore band that rely on brooding riffs, but the fact of the matter is, they are so much more than that. Each song on the record is meticulously crafted, from the little hits of the china cymbal to the more measured approach of ‘Derelict’, every single motion of the band is planned out and to great effect.
What is also impressive is the sheer unrelenting punishment this record delivers. When you hit track nine, ‘Coward’, you could be inclined to believe you are at the business end of the record and things might start to tail off; not a chance. Instead Harrowed launch into a blast beat frenzy which is designed rip your head off. By the time the title track and album closer ‘Chaotic Nonentity’ rolls round, Harrowed have reinvented the meaning of the word crushing, as this record will leave your bones in pieces.
With it being a three-year absence since the band unleashed any new material on the world, this album does have the strong feeling of a caged beast finally being released and you better move out of the way. Despite the crushing nihilism that creeps from every pore of this record, it’s not without texture and it is this which makes you beg for more punishment and pining after more.
Chaotic Nonentity is released via Feast Of Tentacles on 18th October and can be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck