Review of the Album Proliferation by Australian Thrash Metal Band Harlott
About the Band Harlott & the Album Proliferation
Thrash metal from Australia does exist and I even wanted to find out bands from Australia to write about and I did just that. Proliferation is the second full length album from Melbourne Australia based thrash metal band Harlott and it was released in 2015. The style is Exodus style vocals and the album is described as having that Bay Area approach to the songwriting. I also hear a sort of influence from Slayer from their World Painted Blood album. These vocals are super harsh, fast, and aggressive like the vocals from that album. As a thrash metal album, Proliferation is decent even if there are some noticeable flaws in it and you will see why this is the case.
We might as well take the time to discuss the significance of the album’s cover. There are actually two versions of the album’s cover that I’ve seen. The first of these is a photo of a man in a business suit that has a stack of dollar bills in one hand and then in the other hand, he has what looks like a bunch of missiles that he is ready to use. Meanwhile, there is a line of people that are being taken advantage of. The other album cover has what is a photo of a particle. I’ll let viewers make the judgement of what they think it is.
How Does the Band Harlott Differ from Mortal Sin?
“The Fading Light” has that progressive style guitar beginning before becoming a mix of Slayer and Tankard. Unlike the album Mayhemic Destruction by the band Mortal Sin which has a very early raw kind of sound to it, this one has a more modern thrash metal kind of sound in contrast.
The Album Proliferation Gets Off to a Good Start
However, the way that this album starts would catch some fans off guard as they might wonder if we will hear thrash metal at all and that answer is a yes as the song builds up into a fast thrash metal tune that changes speeds as the vocals come in full force. Proliferation is a song that lyrically addresses the complications that can arise from the increase in technology as the security of human life is threatened because of the aggressiveness of humans in general.
The First Drawback to the Band Harlott
The heaviness of this album is so heavy that these guys are on par with Canadian thrash metal band Terrifier. However, by the time we get to the third song called Systematic Reduction, the formula of fast thrash with aggressive vocals can get a bit redundant at times and this is not necessarily a bad thing.
The Second Drawback About the Band Harlott
However, there is this formula that too many thrash metal bands have fallen into which is having songs that constantly address the same lyrical themes about warfare, human greed and the possible decay of planet Earth. There is an overemphasis on trying too much to be like a modern-day version of the band Slayer and this is not necessarily the best approach because the vocals cannot match the aggressive and well-known style of the one and only Tom Araya.
The Album Proliferation May Be An Acquired Taste for Some Fans
The first listen through this album for me felt like one of the best music listening experiences but when I am now taking a second listen through this album, I get the sense that there is not enough musical variation on this album to make it really elite in terms of so many thrash metal albums that are of that high level. Even so, there are bright spots musically on this album.
Review of the Songs Lord of War & Civil Unrest
However, the war inspired lyrical song called Lord of War has some interesting melody that might have as well been influenced by Germany’s Kreator. The song Civil Unrest goes into the same aggressive vocals and speed that we have heard from these guys but the chorus is respectable and briefly describes what happens when a civil war occurs in any country. Civil unrest leads to massive levels of poverty. In spite of the chorus of the song being the one solid moment, the song is not good enough to give you that “wow” kind of feeling.
"Proliferation" Song Only
Final Thoughts & Analysis of the Album Proliferation
This album isn’t as bad as say Megadeth’s Cryptic Writings but songs such as “Hellbent” while very fast and well thought-out initially are the kind of songs that the band probably tried to rush just to write and it shows in the song. Also, the vocals try to sound like American band Whiplash and it just does not fit in this song. “Bloodlust” is a song that is even faster as the message of “I’m coming to get you.” might not fit in this album. The lead guitar is also disoriented and somehow does not match the style of the song. Unlike the album Mayhemic Destruction which fit in pretty well with the times, this album seems like it was rushed just so the band could try to get the album out there and see how the fans would respond to it. “Legion” is a song that starts out with a scream as the lyrical strategy by the band Harlott must have been to create the heaviest and most aggressive thrash metal album out there. While they succeed in the aggressiveness department, their lack of musical variation is what hurts them the most but Legion has a decent mid-section in it. After about two full listens through the album Proliferation it is not a bad album but it could have been better with a bit more musical variation instead of a rushed finished product. Though it must be emphasized that the beginning of the title track is a good start as the song slowly builds into a decent fast song.
"The Fading Light"
© 2020 Ara Vahanian