Chicago’s Harm’s Way is the type of shape-shifting band that’s always been, if nothing else, ridiculously heavy. The group’s sound quickly morphed out of powerviolence into something very akin to its Deathwish label-mates, with a focus on mid-tempo riffs and sludgy, hardcore-infused aggression. What’s most impressive is that, with a couple minor tweaks, Rust isn’t just the best record of the band’s career, it’s one of the better midtempo metalcore records we’ve had in a good while. Harm’s Way now has a style that hearkens back to two different decades. First, in its most aggressive, it’s reminiscent of nu-metal’s past, particularly with nods to Slipknot. “Amongst the Rust” is notable for both a somewhat clean chorus and a sound that feels like the offspring of Slipknot’s heaviest output. What’s more noticeable, at least to older metalheads, is the similarity to the legendary band Celtic Frost, especially in the doomier and gloomier sections of Rust, which is to say almost the whole damn thing.
Rust is a great visual representation of this dirty record. It has a sound that is both clear and grimy, like it’s been aged by time and chemicals, refined by the darkness in the world. There is little to any hope to this record; that said, “Hope” has a gargantuan-sized riff about two minutes in that gives me a little hope for the metalcore genre. Regardless, this is a very cathartic record, meant to serve as a means of venting aggression. Put this record on in the weight room, and you’ll feel as energized as you would’ve with a whole can of pre-workout-mixed-with-Red-
Overall, this is a fairly one-note record: it’s loud, angry, and filled to the brim with riffs; however, Harm’s Way does a Hell of a lot with just one riff. This is an impressive record all the way through. Harm’s Way obliterates the beatdown metalcore competition with Grade-A riffs. (Nicholas Senior)