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Mercurial Genre-Benders BLACK HARVEST Reinvent Themselves Once More On Sun Across The Fields


Although I know my primary function at Metal Injection is handling our weekly Tech-Death Tuesday column, I do have other interests when it comes to new metal even though I no longer cover them as I did in years past over at No Clean Singing and for a local print magazine called LEO Weekly. But, when there are projects near and dear to me, especially those I don’t feel get the accolades and coverage they’re due, it’s nice to be able to highlight things like that as time allows. To that end, I’m really excited to help launch an exclusive early stream of Black Harvest – Sun Across The Fields today. The release comes out this Friday, July 31st, and pre-orders should be up today over on Bandcamp.

Black Harvest is an intriguing extreme metal project I’ve been covering with enthusiasm since 2016 when I belatedly came across the project’s 5th album from 2014 called Abject and needed to cover it. The group has been around since 2002 and started as the solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kishor Haulenbeek. If his name isn’t familiar to you, his astounding paintings may very well be, given his very recent run of phenomenal cover art from 2019 and 2020 alone for Afterbirth (Unique Leader Records), In Human Form (I, Voidhanger Records), and Rannoch among others.

After the band’s first album from 2003, Shrine of Hours, kicked things off as a one-man-band effort, Black Harvest expanded to include other members for their next two albums and then reverted back to Kishor fully at the helm again from the 2011 full-length release of Ingrate into the present. The most recent Black Harvest outing was 2017’s Attrition EP, featuring Imperial Triumphant drummer Kenny Grohowski as a session player. I loved that release enough to help do the early stream for it so I had to say yes again and help with the launch of Sun Across The Fields.

What makes this project so interesting to me is not only their mercurial style that unites melodic death metal, doom, and black metal together gracefully, it’s how organically each release offers up a new twist on their familiar blend between these styles. To that end, Sun Across The Fields goes all-in on a new compositional format for the project as well as finding a new balance between the progressive and technical ends of their sound that the project has come to embrace over the years. This new release consists of three songs, yet each highly emotive and adventurous tracks feel like a badass mini-epic given that two of the run over 10-minutes in length, and the shortest is just over eight minutes long. As Kishor explains this facet of the release, "Joining In Human Form and learning their material has also been a big source of inspiration over the past year, especially in terms of letting myself write longer songs.”

As I often do, I asked if I could get some background information about the release and Kishor kindly shared that “There was a lot of joy in the process of writing this music, and I hope that comes through. I wanted to make it as melodic and expansive as I could and to let each idea breathe as much as possible, in contrast to the sometimes ruthless pruning process of earlier albums. The first two tracks are completely new, written during April and May, and the last one is a reworked version of an unfinished song I had intended for "Attrition".

Lyrically, the theme that connects these songs is leadership, or the lack thereof. "The Herald King" was directly inspired by the ongoing protests here. The other two are more oblique. "Oracle" is about the futility of looking to "divine possession" or random processes as a guide for decision-making. "Abandon" is about the following: making the choice to follow someone or something, and the pain of having future decisions foreclosed by that choice.

While I was home with my family during the beginning of the outbreak, I got to watch the vacant lot next door transform itself into a jungle over the course of a few weeks. Sometimes it felt like the window was the only connection I had with the outside world. The album artwork is a composite of several photographs I took from the studio, and I guess it's my way of inviting you into the room with me."

So definitely check out our early stream of Black Harvest – Across The Fields below and give it a few spins to really let it sink in. If you like what you’re hearing, pre-orders should be up today or fairly soon through the Black Harvest Bandcamp Page. If you're new to the band you should definitely check out the litany of killer prior Black Harvest releases as well. You can follow the project over on the Black Harvest Facebook Page.

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