Internal Punishment Programs is an appropriate title for this CD by Norway's Red Harvest, whose combination of metal and industrial rock is, in fact, quite punishing. Red Harvest aren't as well known as other bands that specialize in metal/industrial fusion; they haven't received as much attention as Godflesh or Ministry -- at least not in the United States, where their albums were only available as imports until the early 2000s. But Red Harvest is well-worth getting to know if one appreciates the musical equivalent of a sledgehammer, and the Norwegians are showing no signs of softening their blows on Internal Punishment Programs. Quite the contrary; they continue to go for the jugular on this album, which unites death metal's crushing guitars and deep, guttural growl with industrial's noisy electronics. Parts of this album favor darkly moody atmospherics, but most of the time, Red Harvest is just plain brutal -- and a lot of that harshness has to do with the band's effective use of density. In metal as well as avant-garde jazz, density has a way of really increasing the severity factor; density is the thing that makes Slayer more punishing than Judas Priest and post-1965 John Coltrane much heavier than Anthony Braxton or Roscoe Mitchell. And when Red Harvest goes for maximum density on Internal Punishment Programs, the results are quite nasty -- these Nordic agitators can be incredibly ferocious and claustrophobic. Red Harvest takes metal to a sadistic extreme, and industrial rock is an effective tool in their arsenal. Bands as harsh as Red Harvest are definitely an acquired taste, but those who do have a taste for this type of metal/industrial ferocity will find a lot to admire about Internal Punishment Programs.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson