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4 out of 5 skulls
October 12, 2012 | ,

haarp Husks

Three songs. Nearly thirty-nine minutes in run time. That’s quite audacious for a band just releasing their second studio album (through Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records). Yet the glacially-paced sludge to be found within “deadman/rabbit,” “bear” and “fox” probably couldn’t be delivered any other way. Husks is a despondent and misanthropic trip through swampy riffs, tempo shifts (from crawling to mid-tempo) and Shaun Emmons’ scratchy and scathing screams/growls.

“deadman/rabbit” opens up Husks with seventeen and a half minutes of sludgy groove, buzzing riffs, meandering atmosphere, aggressive eruptions and barbaric drum work. It’s not an easy song to get through to tell you the truth. It’s a track that weighs heavy on the listener especially for that length of time. Had the track been shorter it may have been easier to sit through, but you’d lose that heaviness and impact that its current duration lends itself to. The song’s cold melody rests like a morning fog over the swamp, appearing and disappearing again and again.

At just a hair over nine minutes in length, “bear” is much more aggressive and in your face with its presentation to the listener. Oh, the song is certainly churning with murky, swamp sludge, but it’s got a level of malevolence that the album opener only hinted at. The song shifts from all-out bludgeoning to doomy influences with an abruptness that leaves you a little uneasy and off-kilter. It’s a song that is packed with a myriad of styles, yet one that seems to meld those influences into a single, cathartic and scathing release of energy.

Album closer (that’s funny to say when it’s only three songs long), “fox” starts off slowly with doomy guitars and plenty of swampy textures. The riffs at the onset of this song are pretty damn burly as the track slows to a crawl, dragging the listener feet-first down country roads that could only possibly end at their final resting place, their bodies to be buried in a shallow hole, left behind for the denizens of the bog to devour whatever may be left of your fleshy husk. “fox” is a dark and violent song and one hell of a way to wrap up an impressive sophomore effort.

Husks is not an easy album to get through. It’s not tedious, but it does require a solid commitment on your part — an effort that will be fully rewarded by songs that are full of hatred, despair and vehemence. You’ll be mired in a swampy grave one moment and then nodding along with sludgy grooves the next. haarp certainly have themselves an interesting album with this one. It’s definitely one you should experience.

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