Harpoon
Deception Among Birds

I wasn’t overly impressed with the nu grind, caustic, programmed drum based output of Harpoon‘s last release, Double Gnarly/Triple Suicide, so when this showed up in my mail box I was hardly overly enthused.

However, it appears, even with a drum machine still present, the trio of guitarist Tony Costello, bassist DJ Baracca (Lair of the Minotaur) and vocalist Toney Vast-Binder (7000 Dying Rats) have really streamlined and improved their song writing and developed a more experimental and often melodic take on their programmed grindcore.

In fact, I’m not sure Harpoon are a grindcore act at all anymore , especially with much longer songs, they sound more like  experimental post hardcore with a dash of punk and thrash act -which match the vocals much more . There are far less dissonant grinds and blasts, and its replaced by some surprisingly fluid and harmonic guitar work. Even when the band do deliver something a bit more thrashy and up tempo, its still nice and shimmery.

Opener “To the Tall Trees” is the track which harkens back to the debut the most with a punky, fierce opening and a few discordant blasts, but the track’s experimental second half starts to show the shift.  However,  it’s second track “Prequel to a Lifetime of Disappointment” where the trio really start to impress with their expanded sound with an awesomely melodic guitar work, varied vocals  and creative structures. In fact- I’m really digging Tony Costello’s guitar work throughout Deception Among Birds as the likes of the moody “Dreadnought”, punky climax of “Phlegm”, to weaving, haunting ‘Troglodyte’s Delight” Costello creates a variety of moods and aura with layered clever guitar work.  Far more so than the debut.  But there’s plenty of no no nonsense, driving riffs as heard on “The Cut of His Jib”  and  straight up rocking “Shit Wizard” and this variety of guitar work makes you forget there’s even a drum machine being used.

The title track, after a few bars of discordance, rounds the album out with a menacing, feedback drenched lurch and noisy experimental fade out, but its a perfect end note to a surprisingly good album from a band a few more people should take more notice of now.

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 22nd, 2011

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