Harms Way has been on quite an interesting trajectory since forming in Chicago, Illinois in 2006. What started as something of a jokey Powerviolence band is now anything but. Harms Way transformed into a full-fledged Hardcore act who are fully embracing their Industrial influences and exploring some dark ideas on their latest effort, Posthuman.
Set to be released on Friday, February 9, 2018, Posthuman marks the band’s first release on Metal Blade Records, and the album is an evolution for the band in many ways. It is the fourth studio album in the band’s ever-evolving repertoire, and sonically it feels as though Harms Way have achieved their final form. Fitting, since Posthuman focus heavily on progression.
As the title suggests, Posthuman centers around themes of moving past humanity as the band are moving past people’s conceptions of their sound. Even just a quick glance at the song titles will give you an idea of the bleak, dystopian ideas Harms Way are exploring on Posthuman. The band enlisted the help of Producer Will Putney of Fit for an Autopsy to bring these ideas to life and craft a record that is unafraid to combine a myriad of influences. The result is something completely new and different for Harms Way, but still retains that powerful aggression the band built their name on. Taking those Industrial sounds explored on 2015’s Rust and merging them with those familiar sounds and misanthropic themes results in a frenetic album that is sure to excite Hardcore and Metal enthusiasts.
There is no hesitation to be found on Posthuman. The album charges by with ten tracks clocking in at just over 30 minutes so that no time is wasted. It is packed with heavy, chugging riffs and chaotic drum fills, but Posthuman truly shines on those more melodic moments that embrace the evolution. When the band fully leans into that Industrial sound on tracks like “Temptation” and “The Gift” is when Posthuman truly finds its heart – or perhaps its core. “Temptation” is a staticky, all-consuming soundscape driven by an intense drum beat. Its hectic, anxiety-inducing guitars slowly build into an explosive crescendo that make this track Posthuman’s shining star. Similarly, “The Gift” siphons its sound directly from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, mixing in some exciting Electronic elements with the raw, aggressive instrumentals.
“Last Man” and “Call My Name” drop in touches of Electronic, as well, but lead single and album opener “Human Carrying Capacity” are stacked with intense, pounding guitar rhythms and gritty vocals that fans are familiar with. Closer “Dead Space” also combines straight up force with punchy, sludgy riffs that show how the band have managed to incorporate new ideas into their classic sound while still retaining their soul.
Overall, Harms Way have taken an impressive new step as the band continues to evolve and fully realize their sound. If they have already come this far since forming as something of a joke, Harms Way can only get better by continuing to dive into more serious sounds and themes. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Posthuman 4 out of 5 stars.