Hark – Crystalline

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Hark is a power trio bringing the sludge from Wales to you. My first thought was that they would be a High on Fire clone which really I couldn’t complain about too much because this whole Sludge/stoner revival has been great to me. People talk crap about it, but I’m getting a lot of quality music out of this resurgence.
After a few listens this album really started to shine for me. The musicianship is on par. It can rock a steady infectious groove but it can also show you a glimpse of it’s more progressive elements. And I LIVE for Progressive elements. They even have 6 and 7 minute songs in the middle and close with an epic which clocks in at almost 11 minutes. This band has a lot of potential. A LOT of potential and I can’t wait to hear some more from these guys. This album just came out on the 14th and I’m already looking forward to a new EP or something in the near future. They are on tour with A Storm of Light right now and I really hope that gets both bands some more exposure and helps develop them. I think their next album could blow up to a Baroness level if given the time to grow and cultivate this sound, but I’m also impatient and anxious.
But to bring this back to the present, this album is a nice chunk of sludgy stoner metal that can be enjoyed without the aid of substances that smell like Otto Man’s jacket. Though a few PBRs didn’t hurt my listening experience. The whole record feels so organic. The guitars are thick but the leads remain crisp. A lot of bands sound like they just turned all the knobs on their stomp boxes to 11 and said screw the EQ I want a wall o’ sound”. These guys capture a heaviness that stays tight.
The opener Palandromeda has a really fun main riff and got me excited for the ride I was in for.

The 7 minute long Sins on Sleeves is nestled perfectly between two 4 minute tracks, Hounded By Callous Decree and Black Hole South West, which I feel is the right way to order tracks like that. Breathe And Run and Mythopoeia are right in the middle and are both stellar stand out tracks that get you ready for the second half of the album. Those masterworks are followed by another great track called “Scarlet extremities” that shows a lot of sophisticated artistry you don’t usually get on a debut LP. Jump next to a rocking Groove track “All Wretch No Vomit” before a quick 1 minute intro track titled Xtal 0.6. That interlude sets up that 10 minute plus closing song that is a monster. I love songs like this that close an album like a movie gets closed. Build to a climax and send me home happy. Like “The Last Baron” was the massive 13 minute long cherry on the top of Mastodon’s Crack the Skye album, “Clear Light Of…” is what lets me leave this album happy with my purchase and time invested.

Fans of Clutch or the sludge and stoner metal revival should dig it.

I feel a super thick tight and crunchy 8 out of 10 on this one. So much quality music this year I don’t know how I’ll have anything short of a top 50 come years end.

What do you think about Crystalline? What should I talk about next? Let me know here or on my facebook: facebook.com/TheAGZero

I’ve been Captain rob, telling you to respect the vest!
And as always be safe and stay nerdy!

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