What do you get when you throw Mastodon, Baroness, Clutch, and Red Fang into a blender and puree until smooth? Quite possibly the mixture that you'll pour out will sound something like the UK's Hark, who have once again knocked it out of the park on their sophomore CD Machinations. Featuring thunderous grooves, fuzz toned guitar riffs, effective & aggressive vocals, psych laden atmosphere, and a wealth of attitude, their latest Season of Mist release is one not to miss.
Comprised of Jimbob Isaac (guitars, vocals), Joe Harvatt (guitars), Tom Short (bass), and Simon Bonwick (drums), Hark take the complex nature of Mastodon and mix it with the swamp filled stoner/slude/hard rock of Clutch for a sound that's heavy hitting yet always thought provoking. "Disintegrate" is one of the key tracks here, chock full of intricate little guitar fills, off-kilter rhythms, sizzling guitar solos, and lots of fuzz. Check out the effects laden riffs of the dreamy "Nine Fates", a terrific atmospheric rocker, or the rumbling, tumbling "Fortune Favours The Insane", each one featuring some stellar guitar work courtesy of Isaac & Harvatt. "Speak in Tongues" sees the duo unleash some monstrous riffage that would make Black Sabbath, Down, and Crowbar proud, but don't blink, as "Transmutation" and "Son Of Pythagoras" both also tilt the heavy riff richter scale in fine fashion, complemented nicely by some pounding rhythms and Isaac's tortured wails. Kudos also to Short, whose booming bass is heard all throughout the album, saddling up nicely alongside some mountainous riffs on the closing epic "The Purge". Always nice to hear the bass upfront in the mix and not buried in the background.
In the end, Machinations is one hell of a heavy, groovy ride that any fan of stoner rock/metal should enjoy. With just enough proggy goodness to make things even more interesting, this is a well crafted, beefy album that shows that Hark is more than ready to play with the big boys.
1. Fortune Favours The Insane
3. Nine Fates
4. Speak In Tongues
6. Son Of Pythagoras
8. Comnixant 3.0
9. The Purge