Harakiri for the Sky – Mære (Review)

When it comes down to modern bands that have been helping shape the underground as we know it, particularly in the last decade, you cannot go far without mentioning the likes of Harakiri for the Sky. Releasing four standout albums within six years, the band’s influence and impact has been likened to a modern wave of what Alcest did in its beginning and continues to do with Harakiri for the Sky doing it with their own flair and personality that immediately makes it stick out from the scene at large. It’s a brand of post-black metal that we’ve seen wash over the many corners of the scene in some way or another, but it’s very safe to say that there aren’t many others that are able to come close to what they’ve accomplished. Their music has always been poignant, deeply emotional, and timely, and that was taken to a much more significant degree with their forthcoming album, “Mære”, being not just a reflection of last year’s events that made the world stand still, but a liberation from it while making sure it’s not so easily forgotten by those eager to leave it all behind.

It’s in just last month alone after the chaos that was 2020 that many, many bands have come around to give us material from their perspective of the events whether they be politically-charged, worn down by all the pandemic brought into our homes, the continuous ravages upon the natural world, or everything in between. Few, though, have been able to transform it into art whose gravitas carries through from the soul of those issues into the actual music, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of those that was able to pull it off was Harakiri for the Sky. Delivering virtually every single emotion that we felt as a collective in the last cycle of twelve months, “Mære” does not hold back with every single factor of its entirety from the style itself to the soul that Harakiri for the Sky puts into every minute culminating in an effort that can be just as tear-inducing as it can be vicious. All ten works of emotion-drenched riffage are brought to us in a post-black metal format that’s just as striking as every other effort that we’ve seen put out by this landmark act over the last few years, and for anybody to insinuate that this is anything other than immensely worthy of being in such glorious company would be fantastically undermining what’s been done here. Just to barely walk into what has been accomplished within the confines of “Mære” is to almost insult the body at large as you must truly immerse yourself into it all as Harakiri for the Sky washes over us yet again with a grand display of musical prowess the likes of which we don’t often get to see elsewhere with every track offering something that the others don’t, the true understanding of their craft bleeding through every note in the form of absolute mastery, soul-borne weight that hangs in the air with the uttering of every set of lyrics, and gripping energy that keeps the listener planted and enthralled for the whole of what’s constantly being thrown down throughout the over hour-long experience that is “Mære”.

Just to listen to everything that is brought forth within this album is relive through the lenses of Harakiri for the Sky all that happened last year with their very souls being an instrument at work, and I find it hard to consider anything other than this work being a success that can easily be tuned out. The very essence of “Mære” is dreary from the onset, but exploring deeper within its confines you can easily find a colorful and deeply personal set of flavors that help make the album as a whole stand out from the greater community of black metal at large much like previous efforts from this band, but “Mære” is far from a record that needs the support from its predecessors in order to stand out.

“Mære” releases on February 19th via AOP Records! You can listen to advanced tracks from the album on Bandcamp here.

Track Listing:
1. I, Pallbearer
2. Sing For The Damage We’ve Done
3. Us Against December Skies
4. I’m All About The Dusk
5. Three Empty Words
6. Once Upon A Water
7. And Oceans Between Us
8. Silver Needle // Golden Dawn
9. Time Is A Ghost
10. Song To Say Goodbye

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