Not to be confused with the ionosphere research project, a strand in the conspiracy theory thread that these nuts rationalize of the ills of the world, but rather NOLA formed metal brigade bearing only a name resemblance. Gathered by the gods of sludge around 2005, “Husks” is the sophomore release for these purveyors of a sounds that is truly NOLA sludgy doom greatness, haarp.
As a doom metal lover, when the release has only three tracks on it, there is a tingle of excitement, everyone knows how we doomers love the extended tracks. To call haarp just doom is a little misnomer, they have a big sludge component, really the best of both worlds. So when those worlds collide on “Husks” the matter that spews forth is three tracks one can only push play with a stupidly evil grin and wait for the downtrodden fuzz to let loose.
No need to wait on any ethereal introductions here, it is riffage from the word go. ‘Deadman/rabbit’ comes in with its low distorted fangs bared, sinking into your soft flesh of the underbelly for the next 17 minutes, yeah its that long and that good. Shaun‘s vocals are so in groove with the tone and atmosphere, he may just have captured the best doom/sludge vocalist. Perfect blend of growl-singing that may be heard in the doomverse this year. This track is as one expects, stacked high and low with guitar riffs, slower beat accentuated and carried perfectly by the duo of Keith and Brett.
Dropping into ‘bear’ the pace may have picked up a bit, mind you when doomer say a bit, they mean only a fraction, but this is in line with spirit and atmosphere as the first track. These first two tracks weighing at 25 minutes total, really give the listener the glorious example of what NOLA branded sludge/doom is all about. Music that sounds deceptively simple, yet rich in complexity of mood and sound. It’s this quality that first drew me into this particular style, and haarp has captured this effect in the darkest way.
Their second outing certainly shows that haarp are here to stay and a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. As the old guard continues to thrive, we are also ushering a new era and these maniacs from the south are certainly and forever part of that. This is a great introduction for anyone puzzled about what the NOLA sludge/doom is about, while I might suggest Crowbar as well, haarp can take their place next to the greats from down south with this release. This is a must for all lovers of fuzzy sludge from the southern part of the US where food, beer, and metal is not just a way of life but rather a religion.