Haar -The Wayward Ceremony

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: http://www.atmf.net
Released: 2015
Buy Album [URL]: http://eshop.atmf.netBand
Website: haarsounds@googlemail.com

The Wayward CeremonyBand Line Up:

Drums – Hamish Mackintosh
Bass – Steve Shanks
Guitar – Guillaume Martin
Guitar – Ross Oliver
Vocals – Gareth Cook


1. All Man’s Redemption
2. Sow the Seeds of Decimation
3. An Animus for Altered States
4. The Burden of Perdition
5. The Wayward Ceremony
6. Coronal Mass Infection
7. Outro


Formed in Edinburgh, Haar released their first EP in 2010 and since then they have earned an impressive list of tours supporting bands such as Negura Bunget, Winterfylleth and Altar of Plagues. It’s easy to see why. ‘The Wayward Ceremony’ is engaging, challenging and most of all, fantastic.

Opening in a fairly traditional fashion, ‘All Man’s Redemption’ with its slow buildup of chords and dissonant riffs, and then the harsh, desperate vocals of Gareth Cook penetrate the ethereal atmosphere. The progressive edge really helps drag you in before the second track ‘Sow the Seeds of Decimation’ takes this theme further with sections of polyrhythmic displays and discordant soundscapes that have a relentless ability to crush you. And it doesn’t stop! Well, not until we’re treated to an unnerving ending to ‘An Animus for Altered States’ and the beautifully melodic introduction to ‘The Burden of Perdition’, which is smashed to pieces pretty quickly.

Back to the crushing doomy riffs that underpin the guitar work of Guillaume Martin and Ross Oliver, the title track ‘The Wayward Ceremony’ sees further tempo changing blasts of frantic drumming from Hamish Mackintosh. The energy doesn’t dip for ‘Coronal Mass Infection’ either which is a bombardment of riffs with a few more melodic passages thrown in, just to complicate things before ‘Outro’ pleasantly winds down the album with some dissonance.

There’s a lot of energy in The Wayward Ceremony and no time to get bored. The composition and amalgamation of progressive elements with black metal is near faultless. I really want to see these guys. What an impressive first release!

Review by Helena Byrne