Four years after their previous release Half Tux, Haraball are back with new album Hypno. The five-piece group from Oslo, Norway are taking punk music back to the hardcore days. This is noisy, irreverent punk music that sounds like an album lost since the 80s.
Despite a rocky start with the aptly named opening track Intro, which is mainly just dissonance, noise and distorted vocals, the album quickly picks up. Hog Peni, the second track is pure hardcore punk. The guitars and drums build for the first 20 seconds, properly welcoming listeners to the album. Once listeners think they’re ready, the vocals kick in. Angry and loud, lead singer Jon Eivind screams with all the passion of an Ian Mackaye or a Henry Rollins. But Haraball keep things fresh with an interesting song structure that separates them from their inspirations. So much happens in Hog Peni it’s a surprise to see it clock in at the punk length of two and a half minutes.
Coyotes is hard and fast, giving off some early GG Allin vibes. At this point listeners can understand what they’re in for. White Chickens is slower than the other tracks and highlights the skill of mixer and guitarist Trond Mjøen. While the beat slows somewhat it gives Mjøen time to play with subtle guitar riffs. Tracks like this help Haraball stand out from their contemporaries. Likewise the guitars, bass, drums and vocals all work incredibly well together in Blücher with its interesting outro that expands the album’s hardcore punk feel from just loud and fast music.
Title track Hypno brings all the new elements Haraball are introducing together for a surprisingly progressive punk song. At five and a half minutes it is by far the longest track on the album. The mixing from Mjøen and mastering by Chris Sansom truly stand out here as the song plays with the punk form, giving listeners much more than just a catchy and aggressive tune.
With Hypno Haraball offer music fans some classic hardcore punk that still manages to feel exciting and fresh. Playing with what can be done in a punk song, the five-piece deliver fast and loud tracks sure to scratch that hardcore punk itch many music fans have.