September 20, 2007 | , | 4

Harlots, Betrayer

Abrasive, discordant and caustic — Harlots’ Lifeforce Records debut, Betrayer integrates elements of grind, hardcore, noise and metal with a ferocious, technical delivery. Shifting from Left in Kowloon era Premonitions of War to Jane Doe era Converge, Harlots mix up quite an acerbic bit of music with this latest release. The album has plenty of texture overlaid across every track that gives it an industrial feel. Throw in some slightly ambient transition pieces and relatively cleanly sung vocals and you have yourself an album that careen through a roller coaster of emotions and tempos.

Vocalist Christian Fillippo’s range is impressive, often reminding me of that guttural delivery found on most Premonitions of War albums while in other instances having the ability to bring to mind the sounds of Some Girls and Converge. Eric Dunn’s guitar work shifts from the absurdly chaotic to controlled rock riffs. Jeff Lohrber on drums and Joshua Dillon on bass leave everything on the floor with their work on this album — setting just the right mood for each song.

The Weight Unweighable
The opening track is also the shortest on the album. It is a testament to the group’s ability to bring chaos and order together for bouts of crushing riffs and pounding drums. The band folds everything from abrasive grind to technically timed riffs in just under 2 minutes.

Avada Kedavra
“Avada Kedavra” is what I imagine an amalgamation of The Red Chord and The Dillinger Escape Plan would sound like when combined in a rusty blender. There are enough technically timed riffs and blasts from the drums to keep the listener fully occupied.

Full Body Contortion
Some great guitar work starts off the third track. This one shifts nicely from technical wizardry to brutally simple, crushing riffs. It’s probably my favorite track on the album.

Dried Up Goliathan
Weighing in at a hefty 8:26 in length, “Dried Up Goliathan” starts off slowly with some relatively ambient guitar work to set the mood after being pummeled nearly senseless for the first three songs. It’s nearly 2 minutes before we hear some screams from Fillippo that are more there to compliment the music than anything else. There’s a noisy dinge over this one that makes it a standout track.

Building An Empire Towards Destruction
I love the start to this one. It’s just plain nasty and unrelenting in it’s attempt to beat your freaking head in.

Consensus For The Locus Of Thought
More technical mastery get this song moving along with a few screams from Fillippo. The drumming on this album has been beyond impressive — aggressive, chaotic at times, yet always in control and never just meandering. I love the momentum shift at the 1:00 mark before devolving into some huge riffs.

This Is A Test, No Flesh Should Be Spared
There are some nicely timed vocal and drum combos on the start of this one that’ll have you ready to beat the living hell out of any moving object close by. If you’re not moshing in your car or bedroom with this one, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

The Concept Of Existence
Lots of noise get “The Concept of Existence” moving along before some plodding riffs and guitar highlights kick in. I love the drum work on this track — it’s down right creative. Fillippo’s vocals are definitely meant to compliment the music on this one as they are mostly screams and long shouts.

Suicide Medley
The final track on the album is also it’s longest, measuring in at over 12 minutes in length. It starts off slowly and with a bit of an ambient feel much like “Dried Up Goliathan.” There is some nice hard rock riffs and guitar work before the band shifts into full ambient mode with three minute long soundscape. After that however, the band pick back up the pace with their caustic, grinding blend of musical genres. Fillippo pulls out some nice death metal growls towards the end of the track. Definitely a strong finish to an impressive album.

~ ~ ~

I’ve only heard bits and pieces of the band’s previous work so I don’t have much to compare this latest release to. What I can tell you is that Harlots pull no punches on their Lifeforce Records debut. Betrayer is an impressive blend of hardcore, noise, grind and metal that’ll have existing fans of the band, as well as new followers, shredding hard well after the album as ended.

Favorite Tracks:
The Weight Unweighable
Avada Kedavra
Full Body Contortion
This Is A Test, No Flesh Should Be Spared

Additional Notes: