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Album Reviews : Harlott – Proliferation

By on September 16, 2015

harlott proliferationRecent Metal Blade Records signees, Harlott, have put out all the stops on their second full-length album, ‘Proliferation’. For anyone familiar with Harlott, it is not difficult off the bat to see this band’s influences. Pulling heavily from the likes of Slayer and Testament, you could honestly be forgiven thinking you were listening to Tom Araya or Chuck Billy singing on certain verses of this album. I’m not kidding, check out “Denature” and “Civil Unrest” to see what I mean here. In terms of Harlott, however, this works to the band’s favour. Not only does it demonstrate their own significant prowess as musicians and singers, but it also lends an air of authenticity and nostalgia that is always welcomed; especially so when talking of thrash metal. Speaking of “Civil Rest” though, this song boasts one of the most energetic and frenetic solos I’ve heard in some time. Ryan Butler really shines as a fundamental core on this album. His significant and hefty contributions as lead guitarist provide some of ‘Proliferation’s’ finest, most enjoyable segments. The mid-section and solo on “Hellbent” is another fine example of this.

I will say, however, where I feel this album is slightly let down is the relative sameness of it at times. This isn’t necessarily Harlott’s fault, though. It is more a problem that currently plagues modern thrash metal as a whole. Though the Bay Area and Teutonic influences are prevalent and provide a firm backdrop to the rest of the carnage and chaos, this latter trait of constant chaotic riffing and speed means that eventually the album almost blends into one unit at times. And frankly, it can be a bit tiresome. That being said, there is enough variation here to also maintain your interest. It does mean also that the themes the album is exploring — such as war and politics — form a stream of continual reflection in the lyrics; regardless of how much said lyrics are screamed or rasped.

‘Proliferation’ also appears an album that hits it stride near the second half of the record. With tracks such as “Cross Contamination” demonstrating vocalist Andrew Hudson’s impressive ability to belt out lines at the travelling speed of a bullet, “Legion” further displays his versatility as a vocalist; showing his ability to reach unexpected, yet welcomed higher notes. It also cannot be stated enough how much of a machine drummer Tim Joyce is. The speed and ferocity at which this man plays is uncanny in itself. Add to that the fact the rest of the band only ever seem to complement his playing further and you have a golden combination.

‘Proliferation’ appears a product of its own design in many ways. This album isn’t so much groundbreaking, as it is more a tribute to all that has come before it. Where it recalls Exodus at times, at others it brings to mind Sodom. It is an album that strives to not only pay homage to those that have come before it, but to further push the boundaries of where thrash can go. While the results may be varied, what is undeniable is that Harlott have outdone themselves here: both in aggression and musicality. This side to the record will assuredly lend itself to a whole new host of fans to the band, especially with Harlott set to hit a wider international market.

‘Proliferation’ is out September 18 via Metal Blade Records on a variety of formats. Order yours now via Metal Blade Records.


Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.