|©2002 Nocturnal Art Productions/Relapse
7. Beyond The End
9. Sick Transit Gloria Mundi
10. Dead Men Don’t Rape
12. Final Scorn (bonus Track)
13. Re-Hammer-Mix (bonus Track)
Apocalyptic and punishing, Red Harvest’s Sick Transit Gloria Mundi is one of the easiest albums to recommend this year by virtue of its sheer corrosive power. Whereas most of Norway’s better-known metal bands have just recently delved into the cold, clinical world of industrialized metal (Thorns, Satyricon, Mayhem, Zyklon, etc.), Red Harvest, in actuality, has been successfully combining harsh metal and industrial for nearly a decade, so it can be argued that years of experience have shaped Red Harvest into the paranoid, inhuman, cold Orwellian cyborg it is.
I suppose “Orwellian” is not the best word to describe Red Harvest, as they have more in common with the abjectly dark atmospherics of a Philip K. Dick novel than the totalitarian overtones of George Orwell, but the atmosphere that Red Harvest has established so succinctly on Sick Transit Gloria Mundi is so tangible and so post- apocalyptic, one can almost see a futuristic cityscape veiled in darkness, with the cold prospect of a biomechanical hell looming over like a digitalized Sword of Damocles.
Red Harvest’s brilliance on this album can be attributed in no small part to the production of Neil Kernon (producer of a little known band called Queensryche, Spiral Architect, and the upcoming November’s Doom opus), who freely takes Red Harvest’s industrialized art and cloaks it in an ocean of layers and effects, making way for pure aural punishment.
I, for one, have never been particularly enticed by the recent output of Thorns and other bands of that ilk by virtue of the shallow, unfeeling nature of the music. However, what Red Harvest does is take genuine anger and paranoia and set it to a crushing, devastating soundtrack. Tracks like “AEP” and “Humanoia” demonstrate a penchant for crushing, aggressive, industrialized metal that have more in common with the incredible Strapping Young Lad than latter-day Mayhem. The six-minute epic “Beyond the End” gives a nod to early Norwegian black metal with some atonal, repetitive riffing that freely intermingles with the futuristic drawl of the synthesizers. Paranoia is pushed to the forefront with tracks like the oddly moving “Godtech”, “Humanoia”, “Desolation” and the simply titled “Dead” that seem to exhibit a penchant for early Godflesh and perhaps even a slight nod to Killing Joke. Repulsion and disgust are exhibited in the prerequisite GGFH cover, “Dead Men Don’t Rape”. Red Harvest are also smart enough to throw in some beautiful, idyllic sections, usually brought on by tasteful, underscoring synthesizers, on tracks such as the aforementioned “Godtech” and “Beyond the End”. Vocally, Ofu Kahn is here to let you know that he is a seriously pissed off individual who likes to scream in an effects-laden roar like a more acerbic, stingingly caustic Jaz Coleman.
Powerful as it is paranoid, menacing as it is moving, organic as it is industrialized, Sick Transit Gloria Mundi fucking rules, plain and simple
Review by Alec A. Head
Review date: 06/2002