By Matt Hinch
Last summer saw the introduction of Harangue with their two-song mini-EP Feeding the Wolf. Since that time the band has not one, but two new guitarists in the form of David Caporale and Dan Panzini Their cutting and edgy style has sharpened Harangue’s sound into a more formidable beast on their newest effort Battle Not With Monsters.
Self-described as metallic hardcore, pigeonholing the band into a specific genre isn’t that
easy. Harangue uses that tag more as a base while adding elements of sludge and noise to their aggressiveness. The tracks on BNWM may not be long but each one packs plenty of punch. Tempos shift of their own accord from hardcore fury to mid-paced chug to slow motion breakdowns. Thankfully those transitions happen naturally without seeming forced for the sake of some sort of goal. Blending so many styles and so many riffs within the band’s structure may seem like the band is searching for some sort of identity. Throwing it all against the wall to see what sticks. But it’s more that the band refuses to let themselves be limited and allows what will to work itself into the songs.
On “Gazing” vocalist Michael Kopko tells us to “battle not with monsters” yet the EP deals mostly with battling in one form or another. His ire is fueled mostly by inner struggle. However “33 Black Flags” deals with the oppression of the Ukraine under Russia in the early 30s and their people’s fight to rise above. Not exactly your typical hardcore setting. The song does take that outside-the-box stance to become the most dynamic track on the EP. (Over)driven by the bass work of Jules Parris, it’s here we
can hear the most obvious Helmet influence. Listening closely one can hear the stamp of Page Hamilton throughout the album whether in tone, riff structure or in the mix. Harangue doesn’t sound like Helmet but the influence is no doubt there.
BNWM is full of churning riffs and raw-as-rust vocals, all forced upon the listener with unrelenting intensity backed by the furious pounding of drummer Selvin Cunningham. Harangue has delivered a concise EP filled with a sense of controlled anarchy. The energy level flogs the listener into submission and begs for repeated spins. It’s also that energy that’s sure to make their live performance a bruising affair. Battle not with moshers?
Name Your Price download available on Harangue’s bandcamp page.