Where have I heard this before?

Harm’s Way, a hardcore band from Chicago led by monstrous front man Lou Ferrigno, released one of the most punishing albums of 2011. Isolation is a beast from front to back. But fear not, metal nerds for whom “hardcore” is a dirty word, Harm’s Way has more in common musically with 90’s metal juggernauts such as Machine Head, Sepultura, and Entombed than they do with hardcore vets Madball or SOIA. Their inclusion on the “God Damn” tour with The Acacia Strain and Terror solidifies their position as rising stars of the hardcore/metal scene.

This is one of my favorite albums of the year, and well worth checking out regardless of your feelings about hardcore. I could easily write a full review extolling the virtues of Isolation, but what fun is that? Let’s instead talk about what pissed me off about it.

We are all a product of our experiences. An artist doesn’t simply conjure something new out of the ether; rather, he synthesizes previous experiences into a new form. All art is derivative – some just do a better job of deriving.

Enter Harm’s Way, and their guitarist who I’ve nicknamed: “Just-Change-One-or-Two-Notes-Guy”. I’m not even through song one yet and this happens:

As a guitarist, I understand… sometimes you accidentally steal a riff so your drummer can accidentally steal the drum part from the riff you stole. It happens. I’ll just let this one slide…

Then song two hits me with this:

I think these guys are young. I’m sure they’ve never even heard of Sepultura. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

I think I’m starting to get a feel for the Harm’s Way writing process:

Just-Change-One-or-Two-Notes-Guy: “Check out this awesome new riff!!!”
Lou Ferrigno: “Sounds like an Entombed song.”
Just-Change-One-or-Two-Notes-Guy: “Yeah, but I changed one or two notes at the end. What? I’m supposed to write an entire riff…from scratch?!?!? Fuck that!”
Lou Ferrigno (flexing): “Cool.”

Man these guys sure like Machine Head! I do, too. In fact, I’m listening to the new album at this very moment. Robb and the gang have little chance of surpassing Burn My Eyes, as far as I’m concerned, but Unto The Locust is pretty solid. I mean, I’m sure that they wrote all the music from scratch, and would never let something slide that was too close to… wait…

Oh Robb, you sly little devil!

Make a game out of finding more semi-plagiarized riffs by picking up Harm’s Way’s new album Isolation, out now on Closed Casket Activities.

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