Summarising their debut EP From Day One Hungarian metal mob HARMED tell us: “Expect 15 minutes of anger and frustration in a noisy and straight-to-your-face way.” And what better way to introduce our first ever Hungarian band.
It’s fair to say that Hungarian metal is not a phrase you hear too often, but it’s clearly something we need more of in our lives. HARMED fuse brutally heavy, low-tuned guitar riffs with furiously savage vocals in their wild and wonderful hardcore/deathcore sound, which they describe as “angry, chaotic, noisy” – and who are we to disagree.
Further deepening the intrigue is the following statement on the band’s website: “We all have a side to us that no one knows about. An evil twin that lives inside us all. A dark passenger so to speak. Our goal is to shed light on this aspect which is inside of us all. Who are you when no one is watching?”
It’s safe to say HARMED are not ones for sticking to norms. As the band tell us: “HARMED is all about experimentation. We always try to sneak in as many things as possible to make our sound interesting and particular. For example, tune lower from basic low tunings, not for the sake of being low, but as an experiment to find new textures and depths that we can use. Maybe not one time in a song, but maybe four.
The quintet of Levente Spicze (vocals), Balazs Keresztesi and Gabor Toth (guitars), Stephen N John (bass) and Mihaly Zsakay (drums) played together in bands in various formats prior to the latter three working on some new ideas in 2017. Levente joined up with them a few weeks later with the prototype of their first song Speechless/Deaf was in the bag. And, as the band tell us: “Once we heard it, we knew we had to do as much as we physically and mentally can!”
And that first track is the perfect place to start. Speechless/Deaf opens up with a delicious bouncy riff that continues under a barrage of screamed vocals with cheeky scratching sounds thrown in for good measure. Mid-way through the bouncy riff gives way to a seriously low-tuned guitar noise that I’m struggling to explain other than using the immortal words of Jeremy from Peep Show: “Super Hans says he’s come up with a bass loop for our new track that is so good, that when he tried turning it off… he literally couldn’t… he actually physically couldn’t do it.” Check the track out in the video below:
The EP’s final track Not Myself also shows off the sheer brutality of HARMED. Opening up with massively low-tuned guitars, savage vocals jump in over the top with bursts of electronic noise. The guitars pick the pace up with still ridiculously low-tuned riffs, then reverby guitar noise under creepy vocals then a huge growl over booming guitars. Check it out in the video below:
There’s more than a little of the Slipknot sound about HARMED, particularly the well-placed bursts of scratches, so it’s no surprise the Iowa mob are one of their key musical influences, alongside Nine Inch Nails and Deftones. While they tell us they draw a lot from experimental and electronic artists and a lot of music outside of metal.
On what inspires them to write music, they tell us: “Anything and everything around us influences the way we go about music. The key topics are mostly personal, they are about everything that makes us uncomfortable, angry or nervous. These topics mostly have negative thoughts, I think it helps us to get through a lot and to say things out loud about family, relationships, disappointment, trust issues, fear, anxiety, religion or anything that makes us uncomfortable about life as a whole.”
As HARMED are the first band we’ve met from Hungary, we asked them to give us a bit of insight into their local music scene. They told us: “There’s a really supportive and healthy scene in Hungary! We have plenty of awesome upcoming bands and the shows are super fun! No one really makes a competition out of the scene but instead, we rather help each other out. Not just Budapest but the smaller scale cities are supportive as well. We are lucky to have a scene as healthy and supportive as our own!”
This is a band that deserves to be turned up loud, seriously loud and there’s plenty more to come from HARMED. They have new music coming soon and they’re out on tour across Eastern Europe from next month, more info on their gigs is here.