Sunday, June 25, 2017

DATURA - The Harrowing review

DATURA - The Harrowing

Rusty Knuckles 

When you first meet Kellie Gates, vocalist for North Carolina's DATURA, your first impression will be like oh here's a sweet young woman, pretty, nice smile and who knows she probably works at a daycare center with young children. Then you hand her a cordless microphone and she turns into Cthulhu. Kellie Gates is just one of many factors that makes DATURA a band that defies conventional perception to the point where you enjoy every second of it.

DATURA are a self described death/doom/thrash act. Now that's nothing really new in extreme circles until you scratch the surface. The band structures all three genre elements into many of the eight cuts on this their debut full length. Songs like "Shipbreaker", "Dying Design" and "Keeper Of The Light" make you feel like you've been pummeled, pounded and savagely dragged around. This is not kitchen sink metal, where a band throws everything at you. This is good song writing craft. Major props to the riff creators and rhythm section in order to savagely change directions on a dime.

DATURA also plays it traditional as well. "Charm Of The Rat King" has a head banging SABBATH-esque groove to it for fist pumping, headbanging, slam pitting fun. "Haxan" is full on death thrash that weighs in heavy on the scale. The final cut, "WVLFKVNT" combines everything this band contains then chews you up, spits you out and repeats multiple times. Hell even the title cut, a short instrumental, is a twist.

Add to all of that is the unconventionality of the solos placed into the songs. They're few and far between but they slice their way in at points you're not expecting. Then there's Kellie Gates' vocals which also defy the norm. Yes she screams, shrieks and howls like a banshee but also sings gutterally. She's can sound like a witch, a monster or the Dunwitch Horror (if it sang). These days hearing women sing in death metal acts is nothing new but Gates' vocal style is not only extraordinary versatile it's unique. For a while I was trying to figure out if there was another woman in extreme metal with this type of extreme range and for the life of me I can't. 

The bottom line here is that just calling The Harrowing a damm good debut once again doesn't even tell the whole story. This album fails into the realm of a great album, a one of a kind album and a best of the year list member. Yeah I know when it comes to speaking hyperbole I'm somewhat guilty but this is the type of extreme release which will carry through to the end of the year. They really don't remind me of anyone else which for once is cool.

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