haarp

The Filth

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    8
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Haarp are a New Orleans sludge metal band. There have been a fair number of those since the '80s, most notably Crowbar, Eyehategod, and Acid Bath. But haarp chisel a unique niche for themselves, and it starts with vocalist Shaun Emmons, who sounds more like Behemoth frontman Nergal (that is, more like a blast furnace) than any of his Big Easy peers. He enunciates clearly, making all his lyrics (about being disconnected, stranded, etc.) easily understandable -- which isn't necessarily a good thing, considering that images like "a tunnel full of teeth" show up in songs like album-opener "The Rise, the Fall." Behind him, guitarist Grant Tom chunks out riffs that sound like an earth-moving machine trying and failing to pull itself out of a sinkhole, while bassist Ryan Pomes and drummer Keith Sierra prove themselves capable of locking in at either midtempo punk speed or a desolate crawl. The production, by label owner Phil Anselmo, is excellent, giving each instrument its own space but building a wall of sound at the same time. There are definite precedents for haarp's sound, but they're on their own path, and this is a very solid full-length debut.

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