September 2, 2012 by Dan Swinhoe
To understand why Hark are awesome, you should first know about Taint. Formed in the mid-nineties, they were a Welsh power trio that played a unique brand of sludge. They were the UK’s answer to Baroness, easily matching their quality but upping the agression.The Ruin Of Nova Roma and Secrets & Lies were brilliant albums; aggressive, mesmerisingly rhythmic and catchy all at the same time. Their final EP, All Beas To The Sea, promised even greater things ahead, but sadly shortly after its release in 2010 the band broke up.
Fast forward to today and frontman Jimbob Isaac is back with Hark, who have just released their first 7″, Mythopoeia. Adding former Whyteleaf rhythm section Nikolai Ribnikov and Simon Bonwick, these two tracks of angular hardcore sludge pick up where Taint left off, filling that hole in your heart their demise left just right.
The riffs are hypnotic yet at the same time pummelling. Just like Isaac’s previous outfit, Hark walk the fine line between Stoner, Punk and Sludge, and do a great job. The title track starts a mid-paced dirge and build on the tension, Isaac adding more of a gutteral growl to his vocal range than we’ve heard before. Sin on Sleeves mixes plenty of guitar solos with the staggered, angular passages that Taint did so well. Fans of The Melvins and Baroness will be happy, but Isaac’s barked vocals add an extra dimension and the newfound love of guitar twiddling just finish things off nicely.
Whether Hark will become Taint MK II is yet to be seen, but either way, these songs were worth the wait. And if nothing else, it’s good to see that there are bands from the UK, and Wales in particular, that aren’t a load of shite. Taint were miles ahead compared to the likes of Bullet For My Valentine and Lostprophoets, and if Hark keep up the quality they’ll easily be in the same league as Exit Ten, Sylosis and TesseracT. An album proper is expected next year, so in the meantime, play this on repeat until your neck is sore.
‘Mythopoeia‘ is limited to 300 copies, each sleeve is lovingly hand screened, and numbered by Jimbob, who is also the creator of the suitably crushing artwork.
If you like what you heard, check out some of Isaac’s previous work with Taint. Here’s the excellent video for Hex Breaker, from their Secrets & Lies album:
Click below to hear Taint’s debut album, The Ruin Of Nova Roma. Chock full of riffs and clever, engaging songwriting, this could be the best album to come from Wales, ever.