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Hark’s Crystalline Defies Genre Classification

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I’ll just be honest with you right off the bat: this record is weird. It’s feisty, it’s unapologetic, and it’s there to tell all musical trends to piss off. There are elements of sludge, math rock, admittedly some nü-metal, and a flight right on back to some erratically-placed yet effective stoner/doom breakdowns, all with vocals that sound like they’re straight out of 2004. Is it progressive power-sludge? Is it nü-prog? Is it pop-doom? I don’t know. You tell me. Specific genre titles seem completely unnecessary at this point anyway.

That being said, it rules.

This Welsh “power-trio” has exploded out of the gates with a debut album that refuses to ever let up on the energy for nearly an hour. Yet somehow it isn’t exhausting—probably due to its constant shape-shifting, guts-out singing, muddy bass tones and enough sheer poppiness to get you not only head banging but also screaming your head off along to the tunes like you did ten years ago. And if you happen to also be a huge prog nerd like I am, the constant morphing and innovation of a record like this is addictively intriguing and exciting. If this is what they’re doing on their debut, I cannot WAIT to find out what comes next. It’ll undoubtedly be pretty nuts.

It’s really interesting that this album was recorded at Monnow Valley Studios—the same place that produced the vastly different likes of Black Sabbath, Portishead, Rush and Judas Priest—and mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (who also worked with Kvelertak and High On Fire) because that, in a nutshell, it the type of diversity you’ll find on this record alone.

Seriously, this record rules, but maybe down a couple of energy drinks before braving the terrain, and don’t expect it to sound like anything you’ve ever heard before.

Hark’s Crystalline comes out March 18 on Season of Mist. You can stream the entire album here and pre-order it here.

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