AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Harjo – The Magi (2023; Bandcamp)

There is an evitability of comparison between the music of Harjo and that of Sunn O))), as evidenced by the ponderous riffs that permeate this release. But, if anything, Harjo has a thicker sound as it consists of three guitarists rather than two.

Nonetheless, these extremely heavy and slow-moving melodies are meditative in nature, despite employing overdriven levels of distortion. The two pieces making up the album were both composed by Brent Miller, and he mans one of the guitars. On The Great Memory, he is joined by John Angel and Salvatore Barra. On the 42-minute self-titled centerpiece, his co-conspirators are Angel and Travis Andrews.

Throughout there are plenty of droning walls, crunchy riffs, and wailing feedback. This approach is varied, for example with two simultaneous and massive power chords in the background accompanied by a high-pitched motif or an arpeggiated line. Toward the last few minutes of the album, Harjo heads in a Black Sabbath direction with a sliding riff and bluesy solo interspersed with speed picking.

Despite using an intentionally limited palette that is brimming in distortion, Harjo manages to be contemplative and has produced a work that stands up well to repeated listens. The Magi will be released on April 7.

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