by Robert Dean
I’m just gonna make this review as easy as possible: The newest Harm's Way record is like a chainsaw to the face. Evolving beyond their fast, straight ahead hardcore roots, Harm’s Way is forging into water explicitly held by tried and true metal bands and ripping the seams off the baseball every step of the way. Despite its early release this year, Posthuman will be a hard record to top for its sheer violence, riffs, and brutality.
While their prior release Rust was a step toward the direction of full-on “metalcore” Posthuman straddles both the lines of a band that can hold their own with Sick of It All, but also wreck shop opening for Max Cavalera. Harm’s Way has found a way to take the best Roadrunner riffs of the late 90s and early 00’s and package them together, but without abandoning credibility to tread new artistic waters.
The songs on Posthuman aren’t formulaic and instead try out a lot of different time signatures and thematic styles. It’s a formidable mixture of violence mixed with the history of Chicago’s tougher than leather hardcore style. Having grown up in Chicago’s hardcore scene, I couldn’t be more proud of Harm’s Way carrying the battle flag for my hometown. (I saw them open for Soulfly playing the Nailbomb record and after finding out they were from Chicago, I immediately walked over to their table and gushed. I know I looked like an asshole. I don’t care.)
Posthuman is a complex, yet a beautiful mixture of ideas that should not work. Somehow Harm’s Way pulls Posthuman off. One minute, there’s a clear Godflesh or Nailbomb influence and just went you think the band will do something lame, they go harder than the previous track. Harm’s Way isn’t a one trick pony, if anything they’re capable of releasing crushing metal records, but also maybe dropping some straight industrial EP’s a la what Trent Reznor has been doing with Nine Inch Nails as of late.
"Dissect Me" is a perfect of example of crushing riffage but at the same time shows a clear influence by bands like Ministry or Skinny Puppy. Chicago’s industrial history with Wax Trax is present in the DNA of Harm’s Way, even if the band doesn’t realize it. While the metal featured on display is ridiculous, there’s so much going on throughout Posthuman, that it’s a tease for different looks into the band’s bright future.
"Human Carrying Capacity" is the best hardcore song of the last ten years, hands down. Sorry Code Orange, sorry Knocked Loose. Harm’s Way has released a record that’s worthy of headliner status and should bring plenty of asses into the club to swing on posers. Get ready world, these dudes have arrived.