Harkonen – Grizz

4 out of 5

Label: Hydra Head

Produced by: Matt Bayles, Wes Weresch

Harkonen, baby.  Ye burned bright and fast.

Harkonen rocketed on to Hydra Head with their Grizz EP, shaking up the label’s mathy output with some throat-shredding punk aggressiveness.  The opening title track fully embraces the template that would make followup Shake Harder Boy an epic: Ben Verellen’s searing and soaring vocals over an incessant thudding low end, given digital polish by producer Matt Bayles.  While the rest of this EP doesn’t quite hit that mark, it still makes am impression that, at the time, left you panting for a full length: the fast-paced Kildow’s Song and Thunder Appeal bring that punkier influence to the fore – recalling more an old school Touch and Go sludge or lo-fi Sub Pop influence versus the usual hardcore stalwarts – and closer Hey You Millionaires, Get Out Of That Garbage shows the group capable of slowing things down for some build up, another trait put to good use on SHB.

In retrospect, simply because the follow up album does all of Grizz AND MORE, the EP isn’t something I return to as frequently.  But taken on its own, it’s a stunning rush of straight forward, controlled aggression, given a further sense of precision by Bayles’ clean production.