album: No Bastards
release date: May 15, 2018
star rating: four out of five
review by Levi Yager
Harvester’s music was first described to me as “like two raccoons fighting in a backyard, with some armadillo thrown in for good measure.” That’s not far off – and it’s awesome.
The Arkansas group released their full-length debut called No Bastards earlier this year, and it rips and rages all over the place. No Bastards is full of thrashy metal goodness that fans of harder music would be remiss to overlook.
The first four songs lay down the foundational sound for the album. “Dead Wrong” is the pedal-to-the-metal opener that showcases sick riffs and chaotic heavy sections. And Harvester doesn’t let off the gas till track number five, “Faceless Mother,” which essentially acts an intermission between the album’s two hectic halves. But before “Faceless Mother” graces the listener’s ears with its captivating, repetitive guitar strumming and cryptic final lines, the third song steals the show. Track three is “Old Bull Thrower,” and if there was such a thing as a single on No Bastards, this song would be one. It starts with an attention-grabbing intro of screamed verses punctuated with staccato strums – and follows with what makes up one of the most memorable songs on the record.
Harvester continues to bring their high energy on the back side of No Bastards. A couple standout tracks here are cuts seven and eight, titled “Magnet Mouth” and “Another Wizard,” respectively. “Magnet Mouth” makes its entrance and exit before you get a chance to catch your breath. It flies at break-neck speed and features some infectious guitar work. All in all, it’s basically an entire one-minute-twenty-second breakdown. “Another Wizard” starts off uniquely, with just percussion and bass, and the overall aesthetic of the song is somewhat lighter than other tracks. At one point, the soundscape is pierced by the screams, “My vices haven’t killed you yet – so what are you waiting for?” before a super-fast section and, then, a breakdown.
No Bastards closes with “Cult of Eight,” track number eleven. This song ties up the album well and even has some singing in it, which isn’t heard really anywhere else on No Bastards. “Cult of Eight” has an instantly catchy rhythm and ends up being a satisfying conclusion to a great record. Lyrically, it brings up the theme of salvation.
Harvester’s first may not be perfect, but it’s definitely a worthwhile piece of music. No Bastards is a raw, frenetic beast that’s sure to leave a mark on the listener. The rhythms are on-point, the screams are solid, and everything comes together in a beautiful mess.