haarp's CD Release Show For "The Filth" In New Orleans
Sibera, the latest metal/punk bar hosting shows many days of the week in the darkly lit side streets of the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, quickly filled with many local metal patrons of all variables: musicians, artists, fans, Housecore Records affiliates, and beer-swilling metal supporters alike. I myself rushed from UNO’s graduation ceremony in cap and gown straight down Elysian Fields Avenue to be there for this special night: haarp’s album release show for the band's first full-length “The Filth.”
Beyond the pours of whiskey, the gathering of friends and family, and straight passed the smoke filtered dim lit stage, opening act PonyKiller launched into the song “I-5,” which is about to be released on an upcoming album on Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records. PonyKiller is a refreshingly different sound to not only the south, but to the world. To try and categorize this band in one or two genre splitting clichés would do the music a huge injustice. Imagine taking the warm tones and arrangements of Roy Orbison, then mix that with a gritty snarl of garage rock buzz and groove infused drumming. With all that are also elements of The Cure offering a dark and unsettling undertone of darkness to the group's objective of alternate hooks and storming a heavy sound without using a metal forefront. Songs like “Some Sunny Girl” showcase each member’s ability to function as a core, while offering layers and dynamic textures that provoke the listener.
High Priest is becoming one of my local favorites. Every time I see them, the music gets darker and more aggressive. The band's classic style of black metal has almost Varg Vikernes-like wails of pain and growls by vocalist/guitarist Scarecrow. The early black metal conjures up mental images of the Norwegian forests and quaint wooden churches portrayed on their influences' albums. The minimal breakdowns are just as impressive; an almost psychedelic guitar playing the melody or early metal riffs transcending the trad black metal quick strums and just a bit of J.R.’s bass to ground it. They have a very tight sound that keeps your interest, but still classic enough to gain respect quickly.
haarp’s show was just slightly different than usual. Although the group always plays very well, this show was specifically about making the music perfect to show everyone who may have not seen haarp before just why the new album “The Filth” is so celebrated. Beginning as the band always does, rocking to the vibe and drinking it in and launching into crawling sludge. haarp has the ability to change time itself; taking songs like “The Blue Chamber Painted Red” and “All, Alone” and stretching them out even longer than originally intended. A seven minute tune becomes a 15 minute long live song. But this was haarp's show so no one could complain. Vocalist Shaun Emmons spent most of the show on stage. The few minutes he walked around the beer-slicked floor, he received congratulatory slaps on the back and even tugged on my grad cap’s tassel. Each drawn out note was right on, the sound was amazing.
A great lineup brought out some great friends and fans to hear them all. Before the first band even started, it was packed. So many people committed the cardinal sin of wearing the performing band’s merch, but it was okay tonight because this show was about celebrating “The Filth.” And celebrated it was.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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