Review + Album Stream from Cult Nation

Posted by Nick Skog on Thursday, October 13, 2016 Under: English
From: Cult Nation 
Published: October 8, 2013
*Note: Old review from the original self-release of this album

Droning synths, ambient field recordings, and sculpted feedback usher in Fragments Of A Fallen Star, the phenomenal second album from the as-yet criminally unknown Harrow, and they are indicative of what’s to come. This two-man black metal project from Victoria, British Columbia, draw from a much wider than usual sonic palette and a will to push beyond traditional genre confines. Pummelling blast beats, tremolo picked fury and piercing shrieks share just as much space as gentle acoustic finger-picking, somber crooning, and ambient drone. Multi-chapter song suites work their way from pagan folk through first-wave Scandinavian black metal to instrumental passages of pure psychedelia and prog-ish exploration, with elements surfacing as diverse as banjo, bodhrán, and most interestingly, samples from NASA’s Voyager probe over the moon Io.

Fragments Of A Fallen Star is the aural equivalent of a DMT trip, rocketing from the moons of Jupiter through a dimensional portal to frosty northern forests, pagan rituals and medieval battlegrounds. Exemplary of music and lyrics in perfect alignment, Harrow’s genre-hopping sound scores an interstellar opera that subversively combines black metal’s traditional preoccupation with the mythic and fantastic with less common scientific and cosmic imagery. The usual suspects – serpents, swords and sorcery – people a heroic tale that also references DNA, space, and inter-dimensional travel while contemplating Carl Sagan-esque notions of cosmic unity and the single source origin of matter.

Harrow’s entire aesthetic harkens back to the best elements of 1970s’ rock experimentalism, combining the ambition, ability and adventurousness of Zeppelin, Floyd and Yes, with enough black metal violence and energy to keep the whole thing grounded. Just as their lyrics explore the concept of cosmic unity and the inter-connectedness of subjects as diverse as myth and science, Harrow’s music bridges the gaps between genres, between experimentalism and tradition, and between cerebral exploration and balls out, primal fury.

We are fragments of a fallen star. We are all of us star stuff.

Reviewed by: Daniel Vanderberg

In : English 

Tags: harrow  black metal  blackened folk  traditional folk  drone doom  victoria bc  cascadian black metal  neo-folk 

 Released: November 8, 2016
300 Copies
Genre: Blackened Folk Metal