Aug 032023

(DGR fervently hopes that ‘better late than never’ holds true here, because the Harboured album he’s now reviewing below has been out in the world since mid-March via the Lost Future label.)

Though we’ve tried to prevent it from happening, it seems that as the years have gone on we’ve grown accustomed to pulling back the veil on the well-intentioned chaos that runs this site. Bare with us then, as we’re about to do it again in regard to the March release of Colorado’s Harboured.

You’ll recall that Labor Day weekend was host to Northwest Terror Fest up in Seattle, and we’ve intertwined ourselves with it more and more each year. As a result, the site tends to go quiet as three of us get wrapped up in working on and attending said show, especially since travelling with a laptop is a veritable pain in the ass and as a result yours truly does not fly with one anymore. Which means that I’m restricted to my phone for writing, which for lack of better terms ‘is not happening’.

Like previous years I tried to build up a massive review document I could chip away at and then backload into the site before leaving, so that there would always be ‘something’, even for days when we were all away from the internet as a whole. 2023 provided the fantastic opportunity of having a tiny release-window lull then, which allowed for a massive amount of musical catch up, and those of you who saw the site around that time likely saw the results of twelve or thirteen different writeups – some of which were still rolling out by the time yours truly had returned home.

Colorado’s Harboured were part of that initial review document, and up until the literal moment that I walked out the door to drive to the airport, were ones that I was wracking my brain around getting something said. I had listened to their self-titled release so much that it felt wrong not to get it out there for other people to experience before I left — but that didn’t happen.

Now months later, ham-handed as it may seem, we’re going to try to rectify that wrong.

Denver’s Harboured are a newer project, hailing from the nebulous musical egg-yolk world of post-metal that seems to swallow other genres completely whole, and adds a megaton of guitar-pedal and echo-work with drifting songwriting that is focused as much on atmosphere as it is a forefront attack. Often paired with the ‘lost in the woods’ style of black metal that has become especially prominent over the years, that alchemy can be absolutely gorgeous when done correctly.

Harboured‘s self-titled full-length reaps those rewards early for a release that is equal parts lush and headbang-worthy. Though these are the sorts of releases that are prone to having so much ‘atmosphere’ that it spills over into the production work – often matching that ‘lost in the woods’ musical style with a production that sounds like it was recorded in the woods – Harboured‘s first full-length instead is a hybrid creature in that regard, with a modernized recording that rings through especially clear. Along with that are part of its arsenal are moments where Harboured‘s music becomes painterly in how it moves and brings the band right in line with the experts of the genre.

There are certainly a lot of genre conventions in play here, especially those that pull from the post-metal world. You name it and Harboured probably has wheelbarrows full of it throughout their self-titled album. They’re a band that zero in on their focus especially quick and prove themselves to be quite adept at it.

Harboured as an album is one that is both neatly bookended and also surprisingly quick – though the actual run time would make things seem otherwise. It’s about thirty-three minutes long spread across only six songs, one of which being a particularly good-at-its-job atmospheric scene-setter of an introduction. That translates to song lengths running anywhere between near-four to over eight minutes, yet it’s a credit to the band that very rarely do you notice the time because the music here is dynamic enough, and yes both trance-inducing and triumphant enough, that the temptation to glance at where you’re located within a particular song is rare.

“Atlas To Fall” – which was the lead-off for this release – was a primary suspect for this, as it seemed like it wouldn’t be too long before we had looped right back around to the main clean-sung melody that makes up the bridge of this particular song; itself a musical reflection of some of the opening melodies that seem to wrap their way through the aforementioned introductory scene-setter “Anterior”.



Harboured contains the multitudes one would desire from the post-metal world. They often drift in and out of dream-worthy passages, ratchet up intensity for the verses of the song – bolstered by a harsh bark courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Michael Stancel – and are then equally triumphant throughout the final moments. Harboured have an ear for the cinematic quality that the genre provides and are plenty good at using it.

One of the more ‘victorious’ sounding moments in particular happens during the album’s closing song, “The View”, which feels partially like a reward for making the epic journey with the band but also provides an especially bright moment in a song that meditates in its own quiet aura at first and falls right back into the brooding dark after the one big ‘fireworks and pyrotechnics’ display that allows for the drumkit to take one final blast-heavy beating.

Harboured‘s self-titled album is an impressively strong launching point. The four musicians united within the band were already well-suited to tackle the music in play, but even then, Harboured is a gorgeous album that does well when it morphs between forms intense and beautiful in equal measure. The band do well with their use of atmospherics, and even when they’re knocking genre-staples out of the sky like shooting clay pigeons, it’s still done well enough that you rarely feel like you’re sensing the musical gears turning for the band.

Keeping things neatly packed as they do on their first full-length release and then bookending it, Harboured is an album prone – as mentioned before – to looping back around constantly. It’s easy to get lost within the world Harboured are portraying here, and it’s worth wandering these paths because of that. You’ll get the sense throughout that the band have more on offer than what is being laid out here, yet the album is strong enough that it’s more interesting to imagine just what that could possibly be rather than any sense of desire that they had shorted you initially.

Yes, we’ve been a long time coming to this one; it’s one of our more egregious occasions of playing ‘catch-up to a game of catch-up in progress’, but Harboured is an album that is worth putting on your radar no matter how late your discovery might be.

  One Response to “HARBOURED: “HARBOURED””

  1. I almost made a big mistake here.

    That album cover is so bad, and the band name too unfortunately, that I nearly passed this by completely. But gladly I stuck by NCS and listened, and this is seriously good. Sometimes progressive metal, sometimes post-metal, sometimes melodic death metal, sometimes atmospheric-something metal ..and all riveting. Apparently some of these guys are in Allegaeon too (one of the best bands ever). Branching out I guess.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.