May 2012 23

Harshrealm - [Fahrenheit / Vers la Flamme]Harshrealm
Category: Electro / Rock
Album: [Fahrenheit / Vers la Flamme]
Stars: 4
Blurb: With the guitars taking a back seat, the music on this Japanese band’s latest EP is certainly more danceable but no less intense.


It has been three years since the Japanese electro/rock entity known as Harshrealm has graced our ears, but the [Fahrenheit / Vers la Flamme] EP finally quells the silence. Headed by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist FINN, the band has presented with its music a devastating array of skillful programming and highly tuneful songwriting, given a remarkable production sheen that puts them on par with the best of the best. With this new set of songs, the guitars take a back seat from their usual distorted onslaught, providing only the slightest bits of texture and allowing Harshrealm’s sound to proceed into a full throttle display of danceable electro with gritty rock & roll attitude.

“Note” kicks off with a pulsating bass line and a restrained display of skittering breaks, eventually leading to an ambient chorus full of twinkling synth arpeggios, FINN’s vocals adding to the elevating atmosphere. The song then launches into full blown dance territory with glitch-laden atonal synth sequences and pumping beats, making for an energetic start to the EP. “Everything You Have Said” follows with a much brighter melody and a much more techno/dance mentality simply too catchy to ignore, while “Strain” launches with some recognizably overdriven synths that on past releases would have been a blistering complement to the heavy guitars, but hold their own quite well here. Especially noteworthy are the manipulations on the vocals in conjunction with the highly energetic sequencing. The guitars return on “LahaR” for a raucous techno rocker that features some beautiful ambient breaks, but aside from some occasional vocal refrains, the EP remains largely instrumental from this point on, with “Reply” playing as a jazzy electro interlude with its sweet pianos and subtle glitches. “Fahrenheit” follows as a lush ballad of beautiful synthesized harmonies while the closing hidden track “DALI was the Punk” offers one final hit of stylized electronic intensity, complete with stuttering samples and synths.

With the departure of secondary vocalist Yu-ki, FINN takes free reign with Harshrealm into new territories of electrified fulfillment and rock & roll power. The guitars may not be as present or pronounced on [Fahrenheit / Vers la Flamme], but the music on this EP is no less powerful or forceful as the electronics takes center stage. With a second full-length album in the works along with a new live lineup, it’s difficult to say where Harshrealm will be going on future releases, but with [Fahrenheit / Vers la Flamme] retaining the band’s trademark strength of songwriting and production, it is sure to be a satisfying adventure regardless.
Track list:

  1. Note
  2. Everything You Have Said
  3. Strain
  4. LahaR
  5. Reply
  6. Fahrenheit
  7. DALI was the Punk

Harshrealm Website
Harshrealm MySpace
Veronica Records
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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