I’ve always been partial to promoting local (Missouri) bands, especially talented ones like O’Fallon’s black metal tribe Harkonin. Now fittingly signed to Australia’s Battlegod Productions, Harkonin have released the follow-up to 2006’s solid Ghanima, complete with topnotch artwork and packaging. The end result shows a more controlled and mature band, replete with more of an emphasis on thrash and mid-tempo black/war metal.

Though still rooted in a Hellhammer/Celtic Frost/Aeternus lurch with dashes of mid-era Darkthrone and newer, nicer Immortal, Harkonin is still a black/war metal act at heart, even with Jason Barron’s emphasis on deeper/layered vocals. There are some tremolo picked, urgent blasts scattered around the album, but for the most part the album mixes elements and mainly canters and rumbles with much more of a lengthy, controlled black/thrash ― though not the brittle, punky beer’n’spikes sort.

The first three tracks (“Into Oblivion”, “Ruled by Tyrants” and sturdy “Chaos Anthem”) alone highlight the band’s thicker, more lumbering sound; no gothic synths, no frills, just gritty, earthy riffs. That being said, I do prefer when the band take a little more varied, nasty, urgent and death/blackness to heart. The likes of the 7-minute “Insurrection”, the rangy 10-minute “Black Storm Jackals”, last part of “Spiritual Hypnosis” and the feral “Exhauster of Souls” are all inspiring.

Though the more straightforward thrash based riffing certainly has some appeal as heard on the already mentioned opening trio and “The Sleeper Has Awakened”, but I just prefer the evil snarls as opposed to the sneers that the band blends. Luckily, the album’s last two tracks “”Disease” and “Detest” meld the two styles perfectly, with “Detest” even throwing some nice melodies into the mix.

Rounded out by a tight production and some solid drumming from Clayton Gore, Detest is a extremely satisfying, but not quite spectacular, blue collar, Midwest extreme metal album from an honest, dedicated (this is the band’s fifth release since 2003 in a pretty barren St. Louis scene) down to earth group of guys just wanting to play solid metal: Mission accomplished.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 18th, 2010


  1. Commented by: As Hepatic Tissue Ferments

    These guys put on a great live show!! Bring a lot of energy and good metal times! SUPPORT YOUR METAL!!!

  2. Commented by: Harkonin

    Thanks for the great review, Erik!


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