Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 15 October, 2015
For the uninitiated, a band with the name of Harlott suggests that they should be playing the classy clubs of the L.A. glam scene of the ‘80’s. You’d expect them to pop up as regulars at the Roxy and the Troubadour alongside Motley Crue, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and Poison. But if the band’s second album Proliferation is your first introduction to this Melbourne, Australia based group, then you’ll quickly discover their roots are more in line with the San Franscisco Bay Area thrash scene of the same era. It’s clear they would be more at home at Ruthie’s Inn, The Old Waldorf, or The Stone around the area known as the home of thrash. As Metallica will tell you, those two cities during that same era are worlds apart.
Harlott are clearly putting their hand up to be a part of the latest wave of modern thrash bands. This cluster features Havok, Angelus Apatrida, Toxic Holocaust, and the like. Alongside fellow countrymen Desecrator who supported Hirax in Europe earlier this year, Harlott are also making waves overseas right now landing a support for long standing Canadian thrashers Annihilator on their latest jaunt around Europe.
Things are definitely on the up for these Aussie thrashers and Proliferation certainly embodies the band’s rise within the ranks of the genre, at least within the local scene at this point. At a guess, their recent appearance supporting Annihilator will also bolster their position within the scene and that’s without the signing to the legendary Metal Blade Records, a label that needs no introduction to the discerning metal head.
I’m probably being a little picky but a dozen tracks does tend feel a little long. Maybe I’m used to 10 or less tracks on a thrash album thanks to the albums I cut my teeth on many moons ago. Proliferation may only be 44 and a bit minutes but here and there it feels a little long in the tooth. When it hits the mark, it does so with incredible accuracy. Case in point, the very Kreator-sounding “Civil Unrest”, which is also one of the album’s highlights, manages to deliver a very classic sounding thrash blast via a sinister blend of Bay Area cross Euro thrash. It’s not the only instance of the band hitting their stride either. “The Fading Light” and “Lord of War” in particular stand tall here.
Harlott’s approach to thrash is very straight down the middle. They colour within the lines and there’s not a lot of variety even within. For the thrash purists, this album will raise a few eyebrows and possibly garner a few new fans for sure. But if you’re looking for anything else outside of those realms, then Harlott may not be the band you’re looking for. Harlott’s foray onto bigger and better things is still pretty one dimensional at best and if that’s your thing as far as thrash goes, then look no further than Proliferation. If you’re wanting something more, then you’ll find, like I did, that this album falls short of the mark and ultimately overstays its welcome. Either way, you’ll come up short still looking for that next big thing in this genre of metal. Perhaps Harlott could be it. But right now, it feels like they have a little way to go still, and that can only be a good thing at this point in this young bands career.
Metal Blade Records/Rocket Distribution