Harkonen – Dancing EP

4 out of 5

Label: Initial Records

Produced by: Jack Endino

Advancing their way toward future projects Narrows and Helms Alee, Harkonen still hit heavy and hard on Dancing, offering up a pretty full package with only 5 tracks.  Openers ‘In Tow’ and ‘The Yolk’ show off the expansion of their sound, the up-front Endino production helping keep things still sounding aggressive even when they start to blend in some keys and layered vocals toward the end of each track.  Scratch Acid cover ‘Cannibal’ lays out an influence I wouldn’t have immediately named, as the track could easily pass for a Harkonen one, albeit short and to the point.  ‘I’m Taking the Hydroplane to Bellingham’ is a bit more experimental, doing a slow build with repeated lyrics to set up closer ‘But, It’s My Noise,’ which is pretty true to its name, bringing back the near-breaking point guitars and vocal shred combo that over-loaded the excellent Hydra Head Shake Harder album.

The first three tracks stall things only slightly, as it’s noise-in-progress, in a way, a style that would be better developed in other bands, as the group would shed the non-guitar stuff for their final release split with These Arms Are Snakes.  But it’s still Harkonen, heavy, throaty, boastful, with those matter-of-fact lyrics that come across with perfect snark when released from the throat of Ben Verellen.