haarp – EP 2009
I once read a review of Swans that compared them to slamming your head against a wall underwater. This description comes to mind when it comes to New Orleans’ haarp. Their ultra-sluggish sludge owes much to the anvil weight of local forbears Crowbar. On their second EP, the band plow through four inexorable songs that can be both mesmerizing and excruciating.
Similar to peers Thou (reviewed here), haarp revel in slow tempos and dense riffs. Song lengths range from 7 to 9+ minutes. Despite some variation, these epics are exercises in unrelenting repetition free of melody or optimism. With anguished vocals accentuating the dour mood, the band reflects the despair of the human condition. It isn’t pretty and shouldn’t sound it. Still, haarp could build upon the framework of “Durendal Forsaken,” which features welcome tempo changes. This heightens the impact of the molasses-thick slow sections. More of this diversity would do wonders for haarp’s attack.
Though it lasts a little over a half hour, this EP makes for a rough time in one sitting. Perhaps pyschotropic susbstances could sweeten the experience. Despite their overwrought plodding, haarp make harrowing music. When I think of heavy, I think of haarp.