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Mood music for miserable metalheads...

Harnish is a one man band from Tulsa, Oklahoma, which seems dedicated to reliving the dour, misery-filled days of the mid-to-late-nineties American metal scene.

The brainchild of singing multi-instrumentalist Patrick Harnish, the modus operandi here seems to be a procession of moody, slow-moving murder ballads designed to create a dark presence of evil over the listener. Way Down Below is full of atmospherics, but the first really excellent track is number five, Shooter, which brings to mind the sombre musings of A Perfect Circle. Harnish wisely doesn’t overtax his voice, adopting a talk singing style that matches the largely psychotic nature of the lyrics, and he backs himself with simple yet usually effective arrangements.

Black Moth is more bombastic, utilizing hints of Danzig to good effect, and God Made Devil, which I believe was released as a single, has a similarly gothic air, mixed with a dash of Life of Agony to really pile on the despair.

The second half of the album more or less mirrors the first, with each song moving up and down the sliding scale of misery with varying degrees of success, with the scourging guitars of Like a Knife being a particular highlight and the slightly more upbeat (in relative terms) To Be Your Vampire also scoring pretty highly on the enjoyment meter.

Wisely, considering the downbeat nature of most of the material on offer here nothing is allowed to drag on for too long, with only Way Down Below even approaching five minutes in duration. This means that material seems punchy rather than dirgy, and the album has a fast-paced feel despite it’s downbeat nature, which has to be a good thing for casual listeners.

Harnish may well have timed this release well as the nineties revival trend picks up steam; Certainly fans of anything from Pantera to Korn will find something to latch onto here, but that statement underlines the fact that this is a decidedly niche release which probably won’t appeal to many people outside of those parameters. Seekers of fun times and bright lights need not apply here.

Another dose of Oklahoman good stuff...

Tulsa roughnecks Harnish are back, a mere nine months after we reviewed their last album, In Dark Water, and, if you were a fan of that record you’ll be pleased to hear not much has changed.

Tracks like Dark Worlds Fade are superb slices of doom-laden Americana, continuing the band’s predilection for murder ballad-styled storytelling. Mainman Patrick Harnish, flying solo last time out, is augmented by a full band this time round, but to be honest the impact of these other members is negligible sonically. Harnish himself is the twisted maelstrom at the centre of everything, oozing menace on opening track Bad Things and sounding genuinely not all there on My Name is God.

Dez Fafara may well be about to release an album of metalised country songs under the Devildriver imprint, but he’s been beaten to the jump here by Harnish, who present their own suitably ragged take on Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. This version has a dark heart, way more menacing than anything Dez’s airbrushed and sanitised bunch of ninnies might come up with, sounding indeed like the work of somebody who may well have shot somebody just to watch them die…

I mentioned in my last review of this band that a good point was their refusal to let songs – already miserable enough as they were – drag on any longer than they needed to. This time around the band have afforded themselves more time, with some songs heading out past five minutes in length. As feared, this sometimes is too much of a good thing, but generally the punch and impact found on the last album is still present on excellent tracks like standout cut Miracle, which sounds for all the world like an unholy union between Glenn Danzig and Keith (sorry, Mina) Caputo. The chugging Night of the Incubus runs this a close second.

If the thought of idly pulling the wings off flies on your front porch with a shotgun resting across your legs fills you with excitement then I may just have the album that’s going to act as the soundtrack to your summer (or for as long as you stay out of the clutches of the local constabulary). If you don’t like the sound of that, you may do well to avoid, but I bet if you happen across tracks like Serpentine on the radio you’ll find them darkly, strangely irresistible. Top work all round and a tangible step up from last year’s effort.

Harnish – III Omen is released on June 6th.

Harnish Interview With Patrick Harnish By Allyson Kingsley, Music Journalist Boston Rock Radio



Harnish

Interview With Patrick Harnish

By Allyson Kingsley, Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

BRR: Hello, this is Allyson with Boston Rock Radio and I am going to introduce you to the band Harnish.

I always like to begin with an introduction to the band members and a history of how and when you formed.

HARNISH is mostly the writing I’ve been doing for the past 20 years. In 2017 my non-music career was at a good point so I figured this is it, now or never. I hooked up with Producer Adam Woods at Oakwood Studios and kicked things off with In Dark Water. Paul Brown (Drums), Matt Duvall (Lead), William Moore (Bass) all came on as the core band for live shows. Brian King and Andrea Shirley have helped out with bass some on the albums. William is hanging up the bass, so we’ll be mixing up the lineup in 2019.

BRR: What is the metal scene like where you are from? What are your favorite venues there and why?

I think it’s a bit of an underdeveloped market here.  There is some really unique talent in town not everyone knows about; bands like Machine In The Mountain, Fester, White Rose just to name a few.  We are going to play with a band in January called Carcinogen Daily - They’ve got a really cool C.O.C. kind of groove. I think there could be more of a scene. Venues like the Shrine, Vanguard, and Bad Ass Renee’s are working hard to get smaller bands some stage time.

BRR: What are your musical influences? What life experiences inspire you to compose what you do?

I’m a huge Danzig fan. Dio, Sabbath, Manson, Cash...there’s a lot of others, but Glenn has been the biggest influence for sure. I’ve always had a thing for the darker side of religion. I’d say that’s at the core of my work.  But love, loss, all the normal stuff we go through...it’s all in there.

BRR: Describe the artwork for the album In Dark Water and your current album No Thing Like Me.

In Dark Water was really themed around a bible passage where Jesus casts a horde of demons into a group of pigs, then drowns them in the sea. You can’t get much cooler imagery than that. I met an artist in London named Tim Kent and he hooked me up with our iconic Pig Head. No Thing Like Me is much more about the wars we fight inside ourselves. It’s a softer album, but really dark and angry at times. I felt like everything had to be red.


BRR: Describe a little bit of your past discography. How has your music evolved?

I’m 38 now and some of the songs on my albums I wrote when I was 16. It’s been about taking years of writing and demos and finally bringing them to life in a studio. My writing has always been good, but I think it’s taking me quite a while to develop as a musician. I’m not a great singer...I have to work hard at it. I didn’t realize that at 20 years old. I think I’m putting out stuff now that will stand the test of time. I try to imagine the songs I’m making playing at my funeral and would I be proud of it?

BRR: You created a cover of “Bad to the Bone” that sounds like Manson meets Sabbath. Discuss how you chose this style.

I have covered this song for a long time playing live. I think it is such a tough song that doesn’t get enough respect. For the album I wanted to drop it down, make it sound dirty and mean. That’s how I hear it in my head. Adam Woods did the slide work, Paul Brown killed it on the drums and it just all came together.

https://youtu.be/yb5hSR7-rh4


BRR: “I Should Be Dead” is haunting and beautiful. What feelings were behind this creation?

I’d like to think it could mean different things for people. In my mind it’s about feeling abused and mistreated by most people, and you have that one person, relationship or whatever, who you want to believe in. But in the end they are just the same and it pushes you over the edge. Whatever that edge may be.  We filmed the video at the haunted Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie, OK.
https://youtu.be/4LtqqYOLWTo


BRR: You also did a cover of one of my favorite Marilyn Manson songs “Man That You Fear.” What led you to choose this song and describe your version of this?

I have so much respect for Marilyn Manson. “With Man That You Fear” I just thought I could bring something new to it. I love when Marilyn sings over an acoustic guitar and I always want more...so I just tried to pay tribute to that. I can clearly remember this song coming out in high school and Manson was just blowing people’s minds. It was an honor to cover.

BRR: Describe the song “Lips as Soft as Yours.” It's amazing how an acoustic sound can still be dark. Can you go into detail?

There’s just something sexy about temptation and when I talk about dark religious imagery, “Lips” is really the perfect example. When lyrics are about really heavy stuff I think they just kind of shape the emotion of song. It doesn’t matter if its acoustic.  The wicked part of it just sucks you in.

BRR: Finally, a question I ask many artists. Aside from attendance at venues, what changes would like to see in metal?

I’m not hating on cookie monster vocals...but I’m old school when it comes to vocalists.  Ronnie James Dio, Marilyn Manson, Glenn Danzig...they have a voice.  I want more bands with voices and less demonic gurgling.  But that’s just me.

BRR: I'd like to thank you for your time on behalf of Boston Rock Radio and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

It’s been a pleasure.  I really appreciate you taking the time.


http://www.harnishmusic.rocks

https://www.facebook.com/harnishmusic/

https://harnish.hearnow.com/no-thing-like-me

A big step in the right direction...

Oklahoman Patrick Harnish is back with a new album, his third, and once again he’s exploring all those dark crevices of the human psyche that most of us wouldn’t care to acknowledge the existence of…

I’ve never been there, but from the evidence of all three Harnish albums there appears to be a severe paucity of what we know in the medical trade as ‘happy pills’ in Harnish’s particular part of the Midwest. Over the course of forty-odd tortured minutes on his new album Harnish again manages to exorcise more demons than the average Catholic Priest on a sponsored imp cull, but if this style of overwrought American Gothic is your bag that won’t matter an ounce as the band goes about it’s grimly fascinating business.

Track one, Just Like A Murderer, surprisingly brings reanimated New Yorkers Pist.On to mind, but for the most part Harnish reverts to his default Danzig lite setting. If truth be told there’s a bit more musicality accompanying the muscle on True Crime than on the band’s previous couple of outings, a late nineties grunginess that is actually more appealing than that simile might intimate. This is the sound of an artist becoming more comfortable – nay confident – in his own skin.

Dying In A Red Dress, the probable standout track, is an unlikely mix of Nine Inch Nails minus the electronics and Saliva, and again is way more appealing in the flesh than the comparison. The hillbilly death song You’re Just Like A Wolf To Me is another winner, reeking of B-Movie sensationalism and real, nasty depravity; Johnny Cash in his hellraising prime would definitely have approved. And talking of actual music legends, Harnish also delivers a reading of John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom that keeps the menace of the original whilst adding a metallic bombast that’ll appeal to Harnish’s constituency just as much as it will to old bluesers.

Good stuff, then, and it’s nice to chart the progress of an artist – for True Crime definitely does represent progress for Harnish – from album to album through the pages of Sentinel Daily. Definitely worthy of your attention.