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Harvist - Wolfskin Clad (6,5/10) - USA - 2008

Genre: Black Metal / Pagan Metal
Label: Stronghold Records
Playing time: 49:14
Band homepage: Harvist

Tracklist:

  1. Wolfskin Clad
  2. The Lycan Draws Nigh (Clad In Wolfskin)
  3. Farewell To The Old Forest
  4. Hidden In The Woods...
  5. The Mountain River Flows Up, Not Across
  6. Drudgery Of The Craft
  7. A Pox On The House In Which Thee Dwells
  8. The Foreboding Essence
Harvist - Wolfskin Clad

HARVIST is the brainchild of one Jeffrey "Dusk" Mhághnuís, who after having used session musicians in the past, is now apparently recording as a one-man project. The sound is raw, the drums are frantic, and the vocals are distorted and indecipherable. You can stop reading at this point, but just in case you're interested I'll try to go a little more into the details of the lycanthropy-themed "Wolfskin Clad".

As you've probably guessed from looking at the tracklist, HARVIST falls into the nature-worshiping category of Pagan Black Metal music. Interestingly, there are chants in the opening track reminiscent of what can be heard in some Native American music, which is a largely unexplored and potentially magnificent take on Black Metal. Unfortunately this influence isn't very apparent on the rest of the album, which instead mostly falls back on things we've already heard many times before.

There are glimmers of brilliance here, for example "Farewell To The Old Forest" is an acoustic piece which paints a thick atmosphere, and at several points the vocals actually sounds like a werewolf howling. Then there are the cons, which, apart from several generic tracks that only serve as filler, mostly boils down to some annoying drums and the less than average production, which will be far too grainy for most listeners. The almost ten minutes long ambient drone track "The Mountains River Flows Up, Not Across" can also be a test of patience, and even though it's quite atmospheric, it feels a little out of place in the middle of an otherwise quite aggressive album.

In the end, "Wolfskin Clad" is a unoriginal albeit well-done album that is lost in a myriad of similar Pagan Black Metal releases. My main problems with this one is, as mentioned, the bad production and grating drums, but there are definitely enough good ideas floating around here to make it worth a listen. Try before you buy is my final judgment on this one, then.

(Online January 6, 2009)

Ailo Ravna



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