I spent some time this summer reading Rick Springfield’s Autobiography “Late, Late At Night” and have been stricken with a strange pull from a lot of Australian artists since then. What I’ve learned from Springfield’s book and the music that’s been spawning from the continent down under is that Aussies always seem to come with a hard edge. Like us Canadians, Australians always seem to come with an inherent identity crisis, a tie to older countries with a keen desire to do things our own way and it often makes for some incredibly cool fucking art.
Take Melbourne, Australia’s thrash metal act Harlott and their latest full-length Detritus of the Final Age (released November 13th, 2020 on Metal Blade Records.) From the top, your mind should instantly be screaming Slayer!!! (yes Slayer!!! always requires at least three exclamation marks) with a vocal delivery in the same wheelhouse as Tom Araya, fast bpm rhythmic drum and bass bombast and ohhhh that sexy punch to the sternum shredding, the featured trait on almost every one of the ten tracks off Detritus. Harlott are not out to reinvent thrash, but mother fuck are they putting their stamp firmly within the canon of the genre! “Bring on the War” soaks you with aggression like warm gravy over moist turkey, look I gotta get my Christmas kicks somehow. This is actually one of the slower tracks on the album, maybe even the least thrashy but it feels like a single to me. I hear a little Biohazard on this one with a nice nu-metal throwback quality; the fatalistic doomed lyrics also have much to do with beaconing me towards that comparison. Let me add a little local flavour to this thrash turkey dinner, I could absolutely envision a scenario in a future world where live music exists with Montreal’s Chemical Way sharing a stage with Harlott; the bands seem linked both in sound and all-around attitude.
Ok time for the big gifts, let’s open ‘em’ up! Lead track “As We Breach” is a ripper and much more in the traditional realm of thrash. Life sucks might as well fucking shred seems to be the novel approach for Harlott on this and many of the tracks on Detritus and it looks absolutely gorgeous on them. Seamless transitions between double bass drumming, screeching and erratic riffing and venomous vocals. Repeat sentiment for “Slaughter,” another fucking rager. Harlott have an ability to take a familiar sound with an overdone approach and manage to make something all their own. It is hard to describe this witchcraft but as I said prior, Australians have this gift; it’s in the energy and the immediacy of the band’s approach. Nothing’s held back, full throttle, balls to the wall, rips your heart out and pummels your brain thrash metal. It’s all I want for Christmas.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*Edited by Dominic Abate