More than 30 years after its inception thrash refuses to die, and with Australia's Harlott stoking the fires the genre is in very good hands. Returning with the follow up to 2017's mighty Extinction, Detritus Of The Final Age sees them continuing to fight the good fight, delivering a collection of serrated riffs, rampant rhythmic battery and bilious lyrics, hitting hard in all the right places. "For the first time ever I went into this album with a blank slate," says vocalist/guitarist Andrew Hudson. "No ideas or requirements, just an empty record ready to be filled with whatever took me. Obviously thrash metal is the wheelhouse of what we do, and it came out pretty thrashy, but it was great to be able to set that aside and explore other avenues." The result is perhaps the band's most dynamic release, while holding on tight to that signature Harlott sound that has drawn in a legion of fans from around the world.
Helping to realize the new record, the band's ranks were refreshed with two new members, Glen Trayhern on drums and Leigh Bartley on guitar. "Both bring their own skills and abilities as well as fresh enthusiasm and ideas. Glen is an absolute machine on the kit and lays a rock solid foundation for us to play to, and Leigh is a weapon on the guitar and such a unique lead writer. I couldn't have had a better ensemble for this release, and the live show is as violent as ever." Spending longer writing the record than any of its predecessors, for more than a year Hudson worked on it, experimenting with ideas and styles. Determined to make a record that he would want to listen to - and proudly drawing inspiration from the many bands that have shaped the genre ahead of them - it was integral that he was proud of everything included on the record, and he focused on every aspect of the songs. "Whether its lyrics or riffs or breakdowns, I always make sure that every song has at least one bit that makes you go 'fuck yeeeeah'. I don't like the idea of thinking a song or line is 'good enough', so I try to make sure the elements of the song are strong enough for them to stand alone outside of the ensemble that they are part of." The result is "thrash metal with a bit of darkness, a bit of sorrow, a bit of melody and a few hooks thrown in for good measure," something that Harlott fans will recognize while surely drawing in new listeners.
With their first three albums forming a trilogy - Origin (2013), Proliferation (2015) and Extinction - Hudson states it's hard to know what comes after death, but Detritus Of The Final Age was his best shot. "It's the waste left over from the ending of humankind's last moments. The refuse of the fallen kingdom of the engineers of their own destruction. I've never really had a good opinion of mankind and its systemic conditions - war, religion, greed, hate, evil - all of these things are so ingrained in what we are that it's hard not to want angry words for the angry music we write." The frontman also penned more personal lyrics than he ever has before. "I experienced a significant loss in the last few years and was blown away at how aggressively grief could take over one's life. It would be remiss of me to not at least try to express that out of respect for the situation that put me there." Amongst the lyrics are those of "As We Breach", which is somewhat of a call to arms for those hard done by in this life, touching on the ambitions of those in power and the march toward that tipping point to where enough is enough - "when the people lose enough, and have nothing left to lose, then maybe the world can change." Then there is "Nemesis", which focuses on the internal struggle of doubt and hatred that happens inside, and the feeling of being your own worst enemy, and "Grief", which "really just sums up the darkest parts of the journey that was watching what cancer can take away from someone".
Recorded at Legion Studio Productions in Williamstown, Australia with Julian Renzo assisting with the tracking, production and mixing, while making a record can often be an arduous process in this instance this was very much not the case. "The sessions were an absolute pleasure. Studio time is always exciting and it can also be quite gruelling work, but working with Julian made every session quite relaxed and creative and his input really got the best out of all of us as musicians." Admitting the double tracking of vocals was the hardest part, the vocalist pushed himself to the absolute limit of his range, but the results speak for themselves. They also recruited Cephalic Carnage guitarist Brian Hopp to play some solos on "Prime Evil", which was exciting for all concerned. The finished record truly does demonstrate a band playing at the top of their game, and the pleasure they took in making it resonates. "I was genuinely sad when we finished the last day of tracking, knowing that I wouldn't get to come back into that studio until I wrote another record - but that's pretty good motivation right?"