The landscape of hardcore punk is shifting. In a genre founded by not adhering to the norm and staying true to yourself, Harm’s Way continue to embody these ideals with their latest album Posthuman: a sonically devastating collection of metallic hardcore songs with refined industrial elements. Like their contemporaries in Code Orange and Twitching Tongues, the Chicago quintet are pushing the boundaries of hardcore and carving out their own distinct sound.
Posthuman is the band’s fourth full-length album, and first for heavy music powerhouse Metal Blade Records. It’s only fitting that the album finds the band at their creative peak, displaying their patented sound that feels like an organic culmination of 2015’s Rust and 2011’s Isolation albums, with a blisteringly heavy yet relatively clean production by Will Putney (Counterparts, The Acacia Strain).
Album opener “Human Carrying Capacity” is a pummeling demonstration of brute metallic hardcore, with groove-laden riffs and breakdowns. “Call My Name” opens with an industrial-style beat effect that persists throughout the song, hammering around the crushing instrumentation. While most of Posthuman is imbued with this approach of full on heavy, it’s standout tracks such as “Temptation”, lead on by a hauntingly slow tempo, layered with echoing vocals and wailing guitars that set a darker mood, and “The Gift”, a raw, fully industrial song spearheaded by vocalist James Pligge’s commanding roars, that see Harm’s Way disregarding the confides that limit most bands in the heavy music genre.
My only criticism of Posthuman is that even after multiple listens, I find it hard to distinguish the words in some of the vocals. Usually a necessary trade-off for having a brutal approach to the music, I find myself disconnected from the album’s lyrical themes as a result. Though I feel this criticism will fade after more listens and a read of the lyric notes, it helps when a band in this genre is able to achieve this with initial listens.
Fans of Harm’s Way should be thrilled with the release of Posthuman, and I urge fans of metal, hardcore, and even industrial music who want to hear a band incorporate those genres into a unique, powerful sound, to give this a listen.
Posthuman Track Listing:
01. Human Carrying Capacity
02. Last Man
05. Become a Machine
06. Call My Name
08. Dissect Me
09. The Gift
10. Dead Space
Run Time: 34:04
Release Date: February 9, 2018
Listen to the opening track “Human Carrying Capacity” below.