Harmonize – Warrior in the Night Review

Written By: Nameless N00b_23

There is a fine line between cringe and cheese. The latter is a savory substance that has embalmed many a God of Metal throughout the ages, and while the former can be bewitching in some of its shapes, it’s all the same loathed by most of us. Cheese is a crucial ingredient to all metal that I love, and of late I find that my desire for that silky, golden mass has become more and more difficult to satiate.1 Just as my craving was reaching peak levels and I hurried to spin Manowar’s “Sons of Odin” for the 666th time, the rattle of the promo bin beg I pay heed. There lay a slab ‘o metal signed by Cyprus’ Harmonize promising me a “Heavy/Power Metal force” all built around a story of “battles and swords, kings and queens, angels and demons.” It would all be laid bare on the group’s debut full-length, Warrior in the Night. The striking album art and the cheddar-clad title had me hoping that this could be just the fix I needed. How terribly wrong I was.

After a dramatic intro that builds to nothing, Warrior in the Night plunges headfirst into the bitter pools of cringe — never to return to this mortal plane. From the irredeemably juvenile lyrics to the unfinished compositions and below-average performances, I struggle to find good things to say about this offering from Harmonize. Setting its retch-inducing nature aside, this album cannot decide what it wants to be. The promo blurb promised me power metal and yet that’s not the dominating shade of this ramshackle shelter of an album. There’s Ensiferum type melodeath on cuts like “Crawling Among Shadows,” but there’s also what can only be described as epic doom written by someone whose favorite Candlemass album is The Door to Doom.2 In between those, there’s a Europe style power ballad featuring a drummer who can’t perform a slow-paced fill to save his life and a string of vague attempts at galloping power metal in the style of Hammerfall. While Hammerfall are undisputed golden kings of all things gouda, Harmonize stray from their path and can’t save themselves from appearing as self-absorbed “it’s-not-a-phase-mom” princes of darkness that take themselves much too seriously for their own good. Confused? So am I.

But what ultimately makes this album so embarrassing and hard to sit through is its apparent high ambition and failure to live up to it. Harmonize are punching far above their weight on this release as they seek to weave compelling fantasy stories and conjure striking and epic compositions that move with the story. While such lofty goals should be applauded, they lack the language and the tools to make good on their ambition. Songs like “Tonight,” “Angel” and “The Astonishing End” are so one-note and monochromatic in their composition that they hardly qualify as songs. It begs the question of how many times something can be copy-pasted in a DAW before it qualifies as a song. Take “Angel,” perhaps the worst song of the album. It sounds like Joey Tempest’s first attempt at writing a power ballad, back before he had learned the English language and graduated high school, with its plucked, clean guitars droning in the same chord progression over a drum performance provided by a drummer who seems so concentrated on not screwing up that I cannot help but feel anxious for him throughout the entire song. All of this is accompanied by the most juvenile lyrics I’ve heard since I was in my first middle school band. “Angel, take my soul, I’m ready now. Everyone one day must die.” Yikes.

To top the album off, Harmonize provide us with a six-minute spoken word outro in which actress Nicolina Papas recounts the tale of some sort of barbarian turned beast. The writing reminds me of the backstory for my first D&D character constructed by my 12-year-old self (not in a good way), layered upon the tapestry of their poor impersonation of Tenacious D’s “Tribute.” Suffice it to say, this track carries nuclear levels of awkward that are not to be meddled with.

I can’t recommend Warrior in the Night to you. And although this review has not been easy on these Cypriots, I do urge you to have mercy on them. To bear one’s soul to metal and make something from that melding of chrome and flesh is nothing to scoff at, no matter its quality. Although Harmonize doesn’t deliver on their debut offering, I do admire their ambition.

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: ? | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: harmonize.bandcamp.comharmonizeofficial.com | facebook.com/harmonizeofficialpage
Releases Worldwide: October 2nd, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Steel, sounds like this n00b might encroach upon my promo turf. I feel like we should move to terminate in another direction. – Holdeneye
  2. BURN! – Steel
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