Stoner rock twist from several ex metallers
There seems to be somewhat of a trend of ex-metal musos in other acts that are a complete change of direction. Swedish quartet, Harms Way, is definitely in that category. The direction? Well, imagine a mix of stoner doom rock that blends Queens Of The Stone Age, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin amongst others and that's exactly what vocalist/bassist Mr. Dim (ex-Born Of Fire), guitarists Fredrik “Eugene” Lindgren (ex-Unleashed, Born Of Fire, Terra Firma) and Erik Wallin (ex-Merciless) and drummer Stefan Carlsson (ex-Merciless, Transport League, Blackshine) are all about.
The album begins slowly building through a slightly Eastern flavoured opening to As Time Goes By which soon displays its very sludgy, stoner vibe as Dim's vocals take on a slight Ozzy tinge at times. High Becomes Low has a shameless Queens Of The Stone Age aura to it whilst the flat out, simple catchy stoner rock sounds of Million Ways and the wall of distortion like Move Your Face are pushed by more of those ever so slightly Ozzy tinged vocals.
Providing a different feel to the album is the stomping, up beat instrumental rocker, Tsunami, which shows off some Iron Maiden inspired harmony guitar runs late in the track. The catchy guitar runs continue with the excellent 9 Out Of 10 which is easily one of the album's coolest tracks with it's laid back stoner feel. The tempo is raised a little with the chugging Prime Time and whilst Hocus Pocus is a nice track in general, it is noticeably long and would benefit from some editing. In addition, the vocal performance is also weaker than that on the rest of the album where as the unlisted final track is sung completely in their native Swedish just for something completely different.
Harms Way might not be the most original thing to happen in stoner rock in recent times. However, Oxytocin has some clearly memorable numbers within and is a solid enough release that will appeal to those who love the genre.
(Black Lodge Records/Riot! Distribution)