Review Summary: A hefty, albeit underachieving slice of sweep-infested grind.
Seldom is there a moment of solace within Harm Remissions
. From the very first chord, Fawn Limbs establish an imposing wall of sound propelled forward by a veritable tornado of squealing guitars, its path of destruction dictated by the will of the furious percussion kit. It is the experience of this massive being of cacophonous nature that becomes the key selling point of the short-lived grindcore delirium, its brevity accentuating the sudden, unpredictable nature of each included track. The bulk of “Hubris Terrain Expansion” involves a polyrhythmic, math-infused assault buttressed by a flurry of guitar and bass sweeps with commanding shouts dominating the forefront. As the cymbal crashes increase in their sonic magnitude, the ultimate result is a nearly incomprehensible force of pure, unrestrained noise. Throughout fellow songs, a fast-paced tempo reigns supreme, though time signatures are consistently subject to manipulation, cycling rapidly between aggressive forward marches or vicious breakdowns. Consider the electronic elements that intermittingly appear during “Wisdom Teething” and the subsequent series of technical picking motions that escort them away. Underneath a mixing job that imbues a healthy dosage of static dissonance, a haunting ambiance begins to take root; listening to Harm Remissions
morphs into a descent into madness. Only on rare occasions does melody—a light at the end of the tunnel—emerge from hiding, only to be ripped apart promptly afterwards by ravenous instrumentals.
The difficulty of the record in question comes not from its ability to craft a harrowing atmosphere, but rather the contrastingly linear manner through which it is delivered and the undeniable absence of return value. There is no doubting the explosive power of opening number “Odium Pitch”—the distorted, crunching guitar production meshes with the bottomless technicality and heaviness of the drumming, simultaneously leaving enough room to breathe for bass maneuverability—yet, by the time “Random Optics” rolls around near the record’s midpoint, it becomes apparent that Fawn Limbs basically showed their entire hand from the beginning and have nothing new to offer. What once was unpredictable becomes oddly predictable due to how the band limits their arsenal to repetitive groove shifts that might as well be interchangeable between tracks. No memorable riffs are presented to latch onto; such passages are slightly hinted at, as in the sustained note that underscores the first half of “Ore Lung,” but going for that occurrence as a chief example is akin to grasping at straws. Obviously, riffs are not a requirement, yet their lack of attendance further highlights the restricted range of the string instruments, their contributions limited to chugging and technical death metal sweeps, causing tunes to blend into each other very easily. While the percussion performs admirably and acts as an undeniable highlight of the release, it cannot hold down the album all by itself, and the comparatively muted bass presence—it’s provided that high, tech-death tuning that feels out of place in a heaviness-centric grind effort—damages the overall output of the group.
It is due to these shortcomings that any desire of recurrent visits is diminished. Singular entries do not possess a unique identity—technical sweeps, seconds of bass-led solitude, lightning-speed drums, and a bunch of breakdowns can describe essentially each creation. Should Fawn Limbs introduce something novel into their songs, they are liable to trample over it before it develops; “The Rigid Mute” features a rare instance of restrained, gentle strumming that is crushed merely eight seconds later. Similar motifs are discovered inside “Trap Hanger,” but the ambient factors are overshadowed by subpar grind chugging. Triple the problem for the following “No Good Men,” whose comparatively lengthy duration of nearly four minutes is mostly spent embarking upon a post-metal-esque instrumental—until a random grind portion interrupts the proceedings two minutes later, alternating the path of the tune completely and causing it to lose its potentially intriguing characteristic. However, that devastating wall of sound remains a beast to bee reckoned with, transforming the 25-minute record into one that must be ingested fully in one sitting to assuredly soak up the head-pounding brutality. Those searching for a hellish journey that is straightforward and unassuming in its approach can readily consume Harm Remissions
and enjoy its darkened depths. Others will be able to call the collective on its earlier card bluff; for all their positives, Fawn Limbs inevitably have not diverged from the crowd, and the crowd has long since offered more compelling products.