Red Harvest - _A Greater Darkness_
(Season of Mist, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (
My take on one of Norway's most fearsome musical beasts may differ slightly from that of some of my CoC colleagues, but the one opinion that does seem to be universal about this band is that the predecessor to _A Greater Darkness_, 2005's _Internal Punishment Programs_, was rather disappointing. An unexpectedly stripped-down and austere affair, it was especially frustrating to see the band effectively negate all of the goodwill that countless music annals had been generating on their behalf following the highly lauded _Sick Transit Gloria Mundi_.It is therefore perhaps no great revelation to discover that _A Greater Darkness_ has gone the opposite direction, musically speaking. The subject matter remains abjectly dystopian, while the dense sonic layering makes a very welcome return. Indeed, not since _Cold Dark Matter_ have Red Harvest created a record brimming with this much chokingly bleak atmosphere. Some may well find this bordering on excessive, with the band even going so far as to incorporate samples from the soundtrack to David Lynch's "Dune" along the way, but repeated listens reveal this -- among other indulgences -- to be a necessary recrement, made even more effective by the introduction of new elements such as the Scott Kelly-like vocals on "Hole in Me" and "Distorted Eyes".The best bits of the quartet's previous successes remain intact too -- from the surgically precise industrial guitars to Erik Wroldsen's relentless carpet-bombing runs behind the drum kit. This will undoubtedly do nothing to endear them to the traditionalists that long since wrote them off, but it does leave little doubt, when all is said and done, that Red Harvest have reclaimed their title as the undisputed champions of cyber extremity.
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