Having burst on to the scene in 2015 with their debut single Alive To Survive Kingston trio Harbour Sharks have been honing their sound and now with the smell of blood in the water the timing is perfect for the release of their debut album, A History Of Violence, which will be released on the 27th October.
The influence of metal, hardcore and pop-punk is evident throughout the album and like a lucky dip from a bag of Revels you don’t know which flavour you’ll get next. Fortunately they’ve left the coffee ones out.
The album starts brightly with the chugging metalcore guitar riffs of False Flags, which has a faint whiff of Beartooth about it. This isn’t a bad thing as they are one of the finest protagonists of metalcore around at the moment and this track definitely runs them close, nailing the quiet/loud dynamics with a nice heavy groove and lyrics about how governments use the media to scare-monger and increase racial tensions. The Killer Inside Me keeps the anger raging with a similar approach but throws in a melodic chorus to get you singing along whilst the guitars shred over the versus.
The first sign of their pop-punk influences shine brightly on It’s Not Working Out: packed with melodies it still packs a metallic punch in the gentle breakdowns whilst the vocal harmonies over the chorus are catchy as hell.
An album highlight, the titular A History Of Violence, is one of the heavier songs and a personal favourite of mine. It’s aggressive and confrontational from the off, with plenty of bouncy riffs for maximum moshpit carnage.
Keeping things fast and heavy is Don’t Say Revenge which mixes clean verses with a more hardcore vocal sound before a gentle bridge that counterbalances the heavy and shows the vocal qualities of singer Jack Morris. Vulva follows and is an aptly named short interlude that takes aim at the Government and the BNP with the sole purposes of calling them cunts, a sentiment that I’m sure we all share.
Bristling with a fat groove and some stop/start riffs Shatter contains a real ear worm of a melodic chorus which Morris’ voice soars on before another highlight in the up-tempo spiky pop-punk nugget of Burn Down London, complete with punchy bass lines and an infectious chorus that New Found Glory would be proud of.
The album ends with the wild card of Abandon All Hope which as the title suggests is a dark, sombre affair, completely different from the more positive tone of the preceding tracks. Whilst quite different it obviously stands out, slower and more emotive with an almost defeatist attitude which took me aback a little to start with but the strength of feeling contained turned it into another highlight.
As debuts go this is a pretty strong record and covers enough bases that they could find themselves sharing stages with a real cross section of bands, further increasing their profile. The saying goes that there’s plenty more fish in the sea but if these sharks can further refine their sound then they’ll soon swallow up the small fry in their path.