Over the course of the past few years, the -core based sectors of the music industry have been forged into a peculiar position. Despite garnering reputable followings, genres such as post-hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, etc. have been commonly labeled as ‘generic’ or ‘cookie cutter’ due to their carbon copy-based sounds and structures. While some would attempt to argue the categorization, it’s hard to dispute that an extremely over-populated genre is a good thing.
Unfortunately, Connecticut-based Christian hardcore outfit Ark of the Covenant has fallen prey to those industry standards on their debut full length Self Harvest.
While undisputedly heavy, the record itself offers almost nothing of remembrance throughout its 30 minutes of pure obliteration. In fact, each track is so destructively heavy that it should be considered typical to find yourself three or four songs into the record before you even realize that one track has ended and another has begun. The first time the listener is allotted any time to take a breath and collect their thoughts is on the fifth track “Blind Man” – and that’s only for a few seconds.
In all technicality, despite Self Harvest‘s extreme lack of ingenuity, it’s not necessarily a bad record. When put up against genre leaders such as Emmure or The Acacia Strain, it would have no trouble going toe to toe until the very last breakdown – but that’s it. It could never lead the genre, or break any new ground for that matter, just for the sole fact that virtually everything on the album is a carbon copy of something that’s already been done before.
With Facedown Records releasing some of the best -core material so far in 2013 (Altars, Everything In Slow Motion, Colossus) it’s somewhat dumbfounding to see something so generic to come out of their camp. Nevertheless, if you’re into eerie sounding guitar work (“Abandoned”), constant chugging (“Parasite”) and incessant breakdowns (“Transgressors”), Self Harvest is just the thing for you. However, if you’re looking for something groundbreaking that everyone’s going to be talking about in a few months, go check out the rest of Facedown’s immaculate roster.