North Carolina based post-hardcore band Harm recently announced the debut of their second full-length studio album. The ten-track project boasts mysterious song titles and cover art depicting a house on fire, enticing any listener of similarly styled 2000’s post-hardcore projects.
Similarly to Harm’s previous releases, the classic post hardcore & emo influences are very evident throughout this project, alongside strong undertones of metalcore, emo, and even deathcore. The album opens with the ethereal “When I Say it Out Loud, it All Falls Apart,” introducing the listener to the (seemingly co-)lead vocalist Billie Cloer's unique emo style. The second track of the project then jolts into a fully metalcore(nearly diverging into deathcore) sounding song, differentiating the diversity of the project from some of Harm’s previous more raw & less cohesive releases.
As the album progresses, melodic vocals surrounding themes of heartbreak, loss, suffering and acceptance, ethereal synthesizers, and nearly beatdown level heavy guitar riffs allow the project to shift between genres, always returning back to the band’s signature post hardcore roots.
The lasting theme for this record seems to be "growth." The concept of the evolution of their sound, along with the growth of the group of musicians, themselves. It is extremely evident that this band has always been good at their instruments, and have the ability to write a good song, but this record displays clear growth of both main vocalists, Billie & Andrew. The performances on this album are night and day compared to their first album, while both extremely well produced. The first album had a bunch of good songs, but this records songs are very cohesive and its way more digestable as a full piece of music; to be listened to whole.
The raucous sounds of "You're Obvoiusly In The Wrong Place" is the perfect pick for a single for this album, even though they pretty much rolled out the whole album as singles, in 2023, its makes sense.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed listening through “But Then There’s a Pause.” The dedicated work put into the creation of the album is evident through the impressive vocal performances, cohesiveness of the instrumentation, and consistent mix of the audio. I think it will be received well by any fans of post-hardcore and reflects the more flexible and genre-inclusive direction the genre is heading towards.
Stream the new album & discover out all things harm at www.harmnoise.com
Photos by: Calebjustcaleb/SPOONS
Words by: Tessa Wessel
(The editor of this publication's voice was used in a gang vocal part on one of the songs on this album. This review was written without his input or bias.)