Red Harvest Internal Punishment Programs

Thoughts of Norwegian metal often turn to the black metal of Mayhem and Darkthrone, but Oslo’s Red Harvest have been quietly plying their self-described "apocalyptic industrial paranoia metal” for nearly 15 years. Internal Punishment Programs, their ninth studio album, finds the band veering away from the electronic trappings of 2002’s Sick Transit Gloria Mundi and re-embracing metal proper. Opener "Anatomy of the Unknown” immediately hearkens back to the brutally jagged industrial/thrash of 2001’s incomparable Cold Dark Matter, and "Fall of Fate” (and later "Wormz”) settles into more Ministry-like industrial grooves that the band perfects on this album. "Abstract Morality Junction” even dips into Candiru-like techno-based mechanisation with electronic beats, while "Mekanizm” is an incredible exemplar of industrial death, like the heavier side of new Killing Joke. "Symbol of Decay” is another strong track, though much slower and doomier, and a jarring car horn announces the blackened "Teknocrate.” The techno pulse of "Synthesize My DNA” recall a more danceable Skrew, circa their 1992 Assimilation release. "4-4-1-8” is merely a serrated ambient intro to the title track, a shredding, halting kick drum-fest with muscular vocals that puts all the band’s influences into stunning focus. Industrial metal has certainly waned since its inception in the late ’80s, but Red Harvest help to keep the torch burning intensely for rivet-heads new and old. (Candlelight)