War From A Harlot's Mouth - In Shoals
Lifeforce Records
Deathcore
11 songs (36:12)
Release year: 2009
Lifeforce Records
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

By now your eyes have probably flicked down the screen and taken note of the score given, before flicking back up to make sure you read the genre correctly. A Deathcore album that’s actually not that bad?! Is the sky falling? Well, it would appear not, as this German ‘core crew have produced an album that, whilst pretty much enslaved to the Deathcore beast at heart, is not unwilling to go offroad in search of more musically palatable fare, and as such proves that not all that comes covered in shit is shit to the core. As silly as their name is, War From A Harlot’s Mouth are openly experimental, and whilst there are the usual guttural vocals and chug-a-lug breakdowns, the progressive aspects are on full burn and there’s also plenty of moments like the Jazz-ridden interlude Justice From The Lips Of The Highest Bidder, which is such a breath of fresh air into the genre that it’s hard not to go back and listen again just to make sure that you didn’t fall asleep and dream it. It doesn’t end there; the Sludge Metal-influenced Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept And Obstruct Errorism, the technical beatdown of No High Five For A Coward – all elements of a band that does its damndest to transcend the Deathcore tag/insult in favour of a more all-embracing mash-up between Punk, Metal and Sludge.

This clear Sludge Metal influence that makes the average riff as much Crowbar in origin as ‘core certainly helps a lot to make In Shoals listenable. Of course, the likes of They Come In Shoals are still teeth-grindingly traditional in places, but there’s enough imagination (bass solo!) at work to make it bearable. Although there are no songs present which are actually terrible, even the Hardcore-imbued Crooks At Your Door, which twitches and shudders like a smackhead on withdrawal symptoms before breaking down in moshpit tears, is enjoyable enough. It’s hard, however, to know for sure whether the experimental parts of the album are evidence of a genuinely talented band trying to break the mold – hinted at via the skilful instrumentation and progressively-minded song structures – or the playful excesses of a band that needs a stronger guiding hand in the studio – suggested by the godawful song titles (Briefing Security Werewolves On Red Alert, for goodness’ sake) which would normally reset War From A Harlot’s Mouth’s chances of being taken seriously to zero were it not for their skill.

Still, assuming you share my rabid lack of enthusiasm for Deathcore, it’s surprising just how quickly In Shoals grows on you. It’s all enjoyable and diverse, far from the dull chore the genre usually is, and even the gang shouts and sharp-edged technicalities of the minute-long Copyriot add up to something fun rather than grating. I assume that their experimental background is due to the band’s bias to the ‘core’ part of their sound, that unique and underappreciated brand of Hardcore that in the past has produced such radical wonders as Refused. Here, War From A Harlot’s Mouth are far from being similar to those legends, but if In Shoals is anything to go by they’ll be receiving a lot of hype in coming months, and for once in the Deathcore realm, it’ll be justified. Ignore your prejudices and give this a listen – it’s more than enough to convince that some gold still lays buried in that oft-mined territory.

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Killing Songs :
They Come In Shoals, Justice From The Lips Of The Highest Bidder, Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Errorism, What Happens In The District...
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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