Recorded at Arcadia Audio, Edinburgh in March 2010. Self-released EP.
(Band line-up according to Encyclopedia Metallum. No information on the EP itself.)
After two or three listens to this EP, I chose instead to listen to Guns N’ Roses—Chinese Democracy (2008). I guess that has to tell you something about my experience of listening to this album.
I really wanted to like this album. They are Scottish, for a start; hailing from Edinburgh, the city of my birth. Their lead singer is called Gareth. Their name is ‘Haar’, which is an east-coast Scots and Northern English word for coastal fog. What could possibly go wrong?!
I just didn’t connect with this album. I listened to it first a couple of months ago: popped it into a CD player, lay back on my bed in the dark and… suffered. Actually, that’s a bit harsh, but I didn’t give it a second listen until this week.
To be fair, it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered. (That’s not a glowing review really, is it?)
Let’s get one thing out of the way, to begin with: the production on this EP isn’t great. But then I wouldn’t really expect it to be on what I assume is a self-financed, independent release. The drums and vocals in particular sound… distant. It sounds like it was recorded in a hurry, in a church hall. I can accept that. I wouldn’t mark it down on that, to be honest. It is what it is, and it’s still better quality than many of the tape-of-a-tape-of-a-tape hand-me-downs of metal albums that I listened to back in the mid- to late-80s.
The artwork I really like. You can tell immediately that this band has a foot in the black metal camp because the band logo is veering towards unreadable. That seems to be an obligatory requirement of black metal bands. But then the progressive element claws it back towards readable. The EP cover has a mysterious, creepy, smokey/dare I say ‘haar-y’ feel to it. It’s black and white and simple all over. I like it.
So… the music. I described an album a couple of weeks ago as being perfect as background noise. I found this to be similar, but mainly because it didn’t hold my attention for long enough. The three songs on this EP are long (all over seven minutes, two over nine), and atmospheric with meandering twists and turns. I suspect that they are too long, though. “Without form…”, indeed.
This is impressionist metal, without clarity or detail. I can appreciate why some people might like it. Sadly, though it just didn’t move me. It never captured my imagination. Didn’t get my heart racing, or my mind engaged with…
Sorry, I just got distracted there checking my email. It was a bit like that really.
I really wanted to like it, being a home team and all. I do appreciate what they were trying to do. It just didn’t connect with me. Sorry guys!
Review score: 40%