Kingston rockers Harbour Sharks have mastered the art of blending big heavy metalcore with moments of deliciously catchy melody. This ability has, inevitably, led to comparisons to certain bands and, as a massive fan of the beasts that are Beartooth, it was music to my ears to be introduced to them as ‘for fans of Beartooth.’
It’s easy to see why these tags are labelled to them, as Jack Morris (vocals and bass), Rob Rees (guitars) and Richard Hemley (drums) are intent on creating music that, in Rob’s words, “gets people singing and moving,” and they loosely pin as melodic-metalcore. As Jack puts it: “From shows we’ve played before people have told us we sound like a blend of Skindred and A Day To Remember. I’ll take that all day long.”
The three began playing music together in a pop-punk band but, as lovers of metal, they moved in a heavier direction when that came to an end. Jack explains: “We’ve known each other for a fair few years now and Rob and I speak every day – even if it’s just to tell each other a joke! I picked up bass when I was 15 after falling in love with Blink 182 and have since made a transition moving onto just vocals and taking my musical tastes and writing heavier.”
The band refer to their lyrics as ‘reflective of the lower middle class,’ which intrigued us but turns out to be reflective of the repercussions of some horrible and harrowing life experiences.
Jack told us: “The songs we’ve written recently have mainly been about struggles my family and I have been through. I suffered for almost two decades being mentally and physically abused by my stepdad. We managed to oust the bastard but I’ve still got trauma from it and get occasional nightmares. Shortly after, a close family member got diagnosed with cancer. It’s been a tough few years. That aside we’ve written two or three songs about our country and the right wing attitude it’s delved into.”
These issues unsurprisingly result in a pretty heavy style of music, as typified by the awesomely brutal yet melodic most recent single The Killer Inside Me. It kicks off with high-pitched staccato-ed guitar chords, then drops down into low-tuned guitars that roll into a fast-paced opening verse that combines clean vocals and huge screams, and begins with the lyrics “So suffocate me, the end is near.” The awesome lyrics “I’ll put you out, I’ll fucking shut you down, We’re dangerous, don’t mess with us, don’t ever doubt,” lead into a more melodic, big singalong chorus with high-pitched darting guitars and huge smashing drums in support.
A big guitar filler follows the chorus and leads into more singing-meets-screams as the track continues in its intense nature. It all drops out leaving a big fat bass riff and rolling drums before launching into another blast of the catchy, hugely enjoyable chorus. It then drops down to just the bass and light guitars that lead into building vocals that are followed by a big guitar solo, then a heavier, more powerful version of the chorus. Check it out in the video below:
This track points to exciting times ahead for Harbour Sharks, especially with them releasing their debut album later this year, of which Rob tells us: “It’s very exciting to be launching an album and is something we’ve always wanted to do. We spent two weeks in October last year recording, mostly in Jack’s house and a couple of London studios. The ten tracks on it are the culmination of us putting our heads together and writing the best songs we could. People can expect something to relate to in the tracks and release energy into when these songs are played live.”
The band are one of many bands we’ve spoken to from London, but the first from Kingston. Rob told us: “Kingston has a great scene at the moment. Besides the countless other awesome bands that are coming out of here, we’ve got one of the most iconic record shops in the country Banquet Records, which brings in a lot of bigger bands for release shows. We’ve also got great venues for independent bands including The Cricketers and the Fighting Cocks. London as a whole is producing some great bands at the moment and Camden seems to be the epicenter, so you will find a decent gig there pretty much every night of the week. I guess you could say that we’re a bit spoilt for choice.”
Harbour Sharks are planning to gig and tour for the rest of the year to support the album release at the back end of the summer and do a few music videos along the way, so keep your eye out for them.
And, as Jack says: “This is all we want to do with our lives so come to a show and release your energy with us. We are all about audience engagement and playing our hearts out. Bless it up.”