Harsh Realm – Beyond Torment

Band: Harsh Realm
Title: Beyond Torment
Label: Hand of Death Records
Release Date: 7 June 2019
Country: USA
Format Reviewed: Digital stream

Dirty, grimy, twisted, unpleasant, gut-churning… not words you’d hope to find written on your child’s end of term school report card for sure, but applied to the debut EP by a fledgling US Death Metal band calling themselves HARSH REALM? Well that’s just what the doctor ordered. From the immediate gut punch of opener “Void” the tone is set as the band lurches into a sick mid-tempo riff, reminiscent of some classic Death Metal like OBITUARY, but still sounding fresh and fit to wade through the competition in 2019.

Comprising Nathan Landoit – guitar/vocals, Alex Farrer – drums, Mike Royal – guitar/synth and Hannah Cruey – bass, HARSH REALM do not mess about. From the outset the drumming is hammer smash heavy. Every bass, snare and symbol hit stands out crisply in the mix with each smashing blow; overdriven guitars hum with menace between each seething riff, as the band seamlessly moves from churning, mid-tempo riffing, to moments of whirlwind frenzy to gruellingly slow, dragging, auditory disembowelment and back again; all overlaid with Landoit’s guttural vocals and an ever-present sense of menace.

“Death Dream” keeps the momentum going and the battery savage, with more crushing blows to the head, before the aptly titled “Passage” delivers 0:37 of white noise acting as a little breather before the final double assault of “Fetching Madness” and “Portal” bring proceedings to a violent close. The midpoint interlude aside, each track clocks in at roughly 3-4minutes, with the band never overstaying their welcome or dragging things out. Each track is packed with great riffs and cool shifts between riffs and tempos. The playing is tight and the mix is crisp without sounding slick or overproduced. 

At just 14 minutes I’m left wanting more more more (and have to satisfy myself with just hitting ‘repeat’), but as an introduction to this band and a taster of what could follow it’s tantalising. There comes a time in every young man’s life when… no… there comes a time in MANY a young man’s life when… hmmmm maybe not… there comes a time in THIS “young” man’s life when he wants to hear some fresh new honest to goodness, visceral, disgusting, battering, death metal; no over the top technicality, or complex mathematical equations, just metal ripped hot and steaming right out of the bowels in music form. And here it is.

My only complaint? The limited edition cassette (100 copies on metallic silver tape with red ink) would cost me about 5 times the cost of the cassette in postage from the US to The Czech Republic. I was close, very close, but reason prevailed and I settled for just a download. I don’t know what the future holds for the band. Its not like brutal death metal was ever a great money spinner, but one thing is for sure, I’ll be waiting intently for the band’s next release. If this one’s anything to go by it’s going to be a disgusting treat. Do yourself a favour, show this band some love and give your ears the punishment they deserve. 9/10 Tom

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9/10 Epic Storm
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