Well, it only seems like yesterday since we were graced with Harakiri for the Sky’s third album III: Trauma, which was unveiled in 2016. This album was somewhat of a slow-burning sleeper hit for me; I enjoyed it a lot when it was first released, but I found myself increasingly returning to it over time. It insistently dragged me back, gradually revealing just how impressive and enjoyable it actually was.
Arson is a similar release to its predecessor, and I suspect the same will be true about its long-lasting allure too. The band’s latest album continues where III: Trauma left off, with expansive songs that are pitched somewhere between black metal’s dark aggression and post-rock’s introspective resplendence.
The songs on Arson are lengthy atmospheric forays into dark, misery-filled waters. Tinged with the depressive and blackgaze sub-styles, this is music that’s very emotive and carries with it a certain depth and substance that helps to provide the music with at least part of what repeatedly calls me back to this band. Harakiri for the Sky know how to imbue their art with affecting melodies and expansive atmospheres that speak to the listener’s emotions.
Arson contains both strong writing and strong delivery. When compared with III: Trauma I’d tentatively say that Arson is probably the superior release for a number of reasons; there’s a bit more variety spread across the songs for a start, with the band adding a few musical flourishes, ideas, and guests here and there to keep things interesting. Also, if anything, the melodies that the band use on Arson sound more infectious and affecting than ever. Harakiri for the Sky clearly know what they’re doing.
Another thing which is better this time around is the recording. III: Trauma boasts a strong, polished, professional production, and although there absolutely wasn’t anything wrong with it, Arson just sounds that tiny bit rougher and less polished. In case you’re unsure, this is a very good thing. Arson sounds great, and the music really feels like it has the room to breathe, move, and expand on this album, as well as taking on more of a blackened feel.
This is a first-rate album from a first-rate band. I look forward to exploring this more and more over the years.
Very highly recommended.