Harms Way - Posthuman (Cover Artwork)

Harms Way

Posthuman (2018)

Metal blade records

Hardcore is a genre that catches a lot of flack for being singled minded. Part of this is the question of where to go once you’ve perfected the formula. The bands who’ve abandoned the tried and true of two-steps and most parts and found more mainstream acceptance generally evolved into indie-rock friendly territory or bad radio clones of themselves. Last year, Code Orange’s Grammy nominated Forever scrambled that calculation eschewing consensus that credibility could only be driven through hipster acceptance or radio rock overture. To see how influential that album has grown in the short amount of time since its release, look no further than Harms Way’s new album Posthuman.

Harms Way began their career churning out hardcore anchored in the more violent aspect of the genre. Over the years, they’ve grown their sound slightly adding additional elements of heavy music. With Posthuman, and their first release on Metal Blade Records, it feels they’ve settled into a the same nu-metal influenced sounds Code Orange most recently explored to success. To be sure, tracks like “Sink,” “Become A Machine,” and “Call My Name” will please long time fans of the band drawing heavily from their earlier influences, but there is a clear shift, partially driven by production value, to incorporate the more frenetic oriented guitar work found on Posthuman.

While tracks like “Temptation” and “The Gift” find themselves fully immersed in the industrial sounds Harms Way hinted at on 2015’s Rust, the overall slick production makes this shift more pronounced throughout the release. The grooves driven by pulsating drums and heavy bass tones creep up even in the more traditional breakdowns. The electronics and ambient sounds scattered throughout the release demonstrate a commitment to these influences not previously shown by the band. The slicker production style also brings out singer James Pligge’s vocals giving them a more decipherable guttural rage landing somewhere between Jacob Bannon and a more traditional hardcore vocalist

Posthuman is a solid release for Harms Way that finds the band pushing their sound forward by incorporating elements of genres not previously accepted in hardcore. It is clear they are trying to broaden their appeal and audience. The question for listeners will be whether that’s what they’re coming to Harms Way for.