Harlott – Detritus of the Final Age Review

It’s been three years since I last heard a Harlott release. So, for the last week or so, I’ve been doing nothing but reintroducing myself to their thrashy goodness. With only three full-lengths to their name, Harlott is a dense purveyor of the old-school sound. As I mentioned when I wrote 2017’s Extinction review, Harlott isn’t afraid to show love to their influences. Some might say Harlott isn’t afraid of reaching into that box of thrash classics and taking what they like, as well. At any given time, the riffs transition from Exodus to Slayer to Testament, and the vocals mimic Araya, Petrozza, and Dukes/Souza. The guitars can be acoustic at times but prefer to be heavy. The drums blast and fill with no regard for concrete floors, and the bass rattles hardware off the garage door. Harlott may not have a whole lot in the way of originality, but that doesn’t make their fourth album, Detritus of the Final Age, any less solid and nothing short of nostalgic. 

Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Hudson proves through another nine songs that he hasn’t run out of ideas yet. Even if some would say these ideas aren’t entirely his own. To begin, the opener begins to swell and explodes into a nasty combination of Exodus riffs. Going one step further, “As We Breach” finds Hudson melding Dukes and Souza perfectly. Razor-sharp and vocally-aggressive, the opener is a mighty fine way to get things rolling. And it doesn’t slow down quite yet. Using a handful of two-to-four-minute pieces throughout the album, Harlott keeps the heart-rates high. “Idol Minded” (the follow-up to “As We Breach”), “Slaughter,” and the closing Cannibal Corpse cover, “The Time to Kill Is Now,” are just such numbers. The first is fast-as-fuck, but it’s not until you get past the halfway point that your neck breaks under the strain. The title of “Slaughter” says it all. This maniacal ditty is a classic piece in the vein of Slayer—including the Araya-meets-Souza vocal approach. The closer, like most covers, doesn’t do much for the album. But putting a nifty thrash spin on this killer song, and barking out some deathy growls, is a fun way to close it out.

And, to be honest, Detritus of the Final Age needs a fun way to end. Without Cannibal‘s Killer track, “Miserere of the Dead” would be the official album finale. This song, along with “Nemesis,” is weird. Both tracks hover above and below the eight-minute mark, and both refuse to follow convention. Both begin with clean guitars and also dabble in odd vocal layering that has both the gruffness of Chuck Billy and the sinisterness of Tom Araya. But there’s no real fluidity here. “Miserere of the Dead” does have a cool moment when the bass rumbles around clean guitars, and “Nemesis” does tear me a new asshole with its guitar leads and solos. But both songs are hard to pin down and my least favorites of the disc.

Besides the monstrous opener, the other songs I do enjoy are the back-to-back “Bring the War” and “Detritus of the Final Age.” The former is a slower-moving track with a Mille Petrozza-like vocal style and a huge Warbringer chorus. While it’s war-themed with a great marching attitude, it also has the most solo work on the album. The title track picks up the pace, creating anxiety through its melodic, Kreator-esque chorus knock-’em-dead Testament licks. This song is full of surprises and never disappoints—even switching up riffs near the end.

I have to say, I’ve had fun with this one. I mean, that’s not surprising for someone that loves thrash as much as I do. But Harlott is good at what they do, and the nostalgia I get from their albums is some of the best. While not overly original, this album does prove that they can tinker with the riffs and vocals and try something new. Unfortunately, some of the experimentation slows the album down, and my attention wavers. It doesn’t help that the two songs that do this the most are on the back half of the record—unfortunately, screwing with the record’s balance. That said, it’s not enough to hurt Detritus. So, if you love some thrash from back in the day, these Aussies won’t disappoint. Detritus of the Final Age is yet another solid outing from the band.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records
Websites: harlottmetal.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/harlottofficial
Releases Worldwide: November 13th, 2020

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