20 for ’14: HARK – Palendromeda

Part 10 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of last year

It’s all about that closing riff. Sure, the rest of the song is pretty great, from the opening guitar heroics through several shifts of pace and some raw-throated vocal passion, but sweet god damn that riff. I was present at the Crystalline album launch at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach where they played almost the whole of the record, albeit in a slightly different running order, and whilst they had a few teething problems with their set that night (I hear they’re firing on all cylinders now – I can’t wait to catch them back in Wales in April) when it all came together they sounded utterly monstrous. When they locked into that punishing groove towards the end of Palendromeda it was clear to all the head-banging faithful present that they were onto something special. Crystalline is an album packed with highlights but several months on the opening and closing tracks linger in the memory more than anything else – it’s bookended by the kind of stoner-metal riffs that can remind a man why he fell in love with heavy music back in the day. This one here – it’s a sonic beard, an aural raised claw. It’s everything I want out of 5 minutes of riff nirvana. Sweet god damn – that riff..