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haarp - "The Filth" (CD)

haarp - "The Filth" CD cover image

"The Filth" track listing:

1. The Rise, The Fall
2. All, Alone
3. A New Reign
4. The Blue Chamber Painted Red
5. Peerless
6. Minutia
7. Here In The Dark
8. Plurimus Humilus, Ciacco
9. The Fall, The Rise

Reviewed by on December 15, 2010

"'The Filth' drags you through the muck; it’s unyielding and brutal, yet with so much clarity for each sound."

haarp is one of the fastest-growing bands today, if you haven’t already heard of them. “The Filth” is becoming notorious fast. haarp (yes, it’s all lowercase) had lots of hands-on help from label owner Philip Anselmo and amazing engineering from David Troia that lets you hear every string being strummed to capture the quintessential sound of the band: dirty, sludgy, and mean.

Opening with the crushing “The Rise, The Fall,” vocalist Shaun Emmons bellows out his extremely low growls and holds on to it for ten to fifteen seconds at a time. I was quite surprised when I clearly understood every word he said; speaking of pain and frustration. His opening words cut through the heavy sound, “It’s me again/Why do you do this to me.” Ryan Pomes drops the heaviest notes in the whole band. His unrelenting beat in “A New Reign” and bottom floor, speaker rattling blows in “Here in the Dark” give the album the deep and heavy as hell sound.

The music almost has a psychedelic quality to it and a dark, fuzz-toned aspect like Electric Wizard captures. But listening only through extra loud speakers in small bars, this faint quality can be easily lost. In the beginning of “A New Reign,” guitarist Grant Tom demonstrates the psychedelic tone of the guitar as well as how good the recording is. As he strums the strings, you can clearly hear how the sounds of each strum are different. It has amazing texture that is so overlooked today where people are polishing everything to a mirror shine. Grant’s Keith Sierra keeps it all together, forcing the music to move forward and not get stuck in time with sharp beats and silver cymbals through each song. From the opening smash of the cymbal to the final three death blows in “Peerless,” the drums rise above the rest.

“The Filth” drags you through the muck; it’s unyielding and brutal, yet with so much clarity for each sound. The album even received a review in the New York Times. Its excitement doesn’t come from quick tempo changes or complete mood switches in the middle of a song. You have to listen carefully and feel the rough texture and hear each spike in the gravel. Listen to “The Filth” and see what all the fuss over the new NOLA band is about.

Highs: Extremely heavy sludge with great clarity of sound.

Lows: Not the most varied album, but makes you listen harder for the texture.

Bottom line: An older sounding great listen with attention to detail and no polish.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)