Harmagedon – Dystopian Dreams Review

I’ve got to come clean with you folks; there are times when I review bands that have nothing to do with the pedigree of the involved players, or the fervent word-of-mouth presented by the metal music sites at large. No, I tend to grab bands based on their names, or how bizarre the genre combinations appear on screen. Hence, today’s subject, Swedish trio Harmagedon, was described in our promo bin as “melodeath/crust,” and with a mental imagery of In Flames-by-way-of-Morrow soundscape, I was curious as to what that apparent trainwreck could sound like. I mean, who wouldn’t want a lil’ moonshield in their post-apocalyptic emokrusty adventure, right?

It turns out that, after repeated listens, there’s really not much in the way of melodic death metal here on their debut full-length, Dystopian Dreams. The good news is that it’s still an enjoyable half-hour romp into crusty swamp waters regardless, with a few submerged rocks to trip you up here and there. Straight-ahead jams such as opener “Reptilian” and the road-worthy “Expedition” fuel that death-‘n-roll vibe that mid-era Entombed made popular back in the mid-to-late 90s, with the potent rhythm section of bassist Magnus Berglund and drummer Jens Bäckelin (also of Swedish crust legends Martyrdöd) in groove-laden lockstep with one another.

Dystopian Dreams by Harmagedon

The “melodic death metal” portion (if one could accurately call it that) belongs to the talent fingers of guitarist/vocalist Tim Rosenquist, who lays down some tasty leads, scattered throughout the entirety of Dystopian Dreams. Rosenquist isn’t a slouch with his riffing, either. “Reptilian,” “The Reckoning,” and closer “Black Lung” showcase that Rosenquist could hang with the big boys in the riff department, throwing forth meaty chunks of stoner goodness that anyone for a hankering of such will crave with ravenous glee. So there’s a ton to enjoy within Dystopian Dreams.

There’s also some glaring flaws that trip up the enjoyment considerably. The mix is squashed pretty heavily, and while it beefs up Rosenquist’s and Berglund’s instruments to ridiculous levels of heaviness, Bäckelin’s drums take quite the hit sonically. Due to the mix, there’s a remarkable muddiness to the whole album that’s greatly off-putting. However, not as off-putting as Rosenquist’s vocal delivery, which tries to aim for the late, great L.G. Petrov, but doesn’t land anywhere near, with the second chorus of “Full Circle” and the oddly-paced “Sadness Comes” springing immediately to mind.

Still, more often than not, I came to enjoy Dystopian Dreams far more than I harbor any ill will or apathy. When the band fires on all cylinders, Harmagedon can lay a considerable groove upon you that can throw a leather glove down to a good range of stoner metal and crust acts. Also, it didn’t feel like a half hour had passed, which also works in their favor. While they might not always strike stoner gold, they’ve got a solid foundation constructed that could end up building a monolithic riff warehouse. Until then, I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for future installments.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Svart Records
Websites: harmagedon.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/harmagedonofficial
Releases Worldwide: November 17th, 2023

The post Harmagedon – Dystopian Dreams Review appeared first on Angry Metal Guy.

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