Harboured are a hardcore band from the city of Cork in Ireland. Formed in early 2012, they’ve been doing quite a few things. Their first gig was supporting Deez Nuts in their own hometown. They’ve been playing quite a few shows around Ireland. And they’ve been recording this EP. It all sounds very impressive, but For The Heart’s Still Beating is a little more pedestrian than that. At least, to begin with. Intro ’16 Ways To Start A Fight’ is quite fun, if rather typical of the genre with its sampling of cult 90s action films – in this case, Leon. It’s got your regular tough guy lyrics, your chugging hardcore riffs and a few gang vocals thrown in for good measure – everything that you’d expect, and although it’s not exactly ground breaking, it at least sounds pretty good. Then breaking into ‘The Bold, The Brave, The Free’ and it just gets boring. Hardcore is meant to be short and snappy, but the track goes on for at least a minute longer than it should. The breakdown is okay, as is the one in ‘Devastator’, but that’s all they are – there’s hardly any variation between the two, just a few gang vocals tossed over some chug-chug riffs and neither are really wanting to make me get down into the moshpit.
But this is an EP of two halves. Ignoring the painfully cliché ‘Kids Who Play Contra’, it finally gets into its stride with ‘Better Off Betrayed’. The opening feels a little bit nu-metally, but in the kind of nostalgic, joyful way, and the verses capture that anger and frustration that the other tracks only claim to. There’s some quick injections of melody and a certain sense of confidence that is actually validated here. It’s still a minute longer than it should be, and the longest track on the EP – but that’s to accommodate a pretty meaty breakdown with some fantastically rumbly bass. ‘DDT’ pays tribute to the hardcore bands of old in its simple approach and works really well. And then closer ‘Hang Your Head’ takes cues from early Rise Against with some great riffs and some posi elements.
If Harboured can draw from the latter half of this EP when writing their next release, they’ll potentially have some brilliant stuff on their hands, but they need to learn where to avoid the cliché and where to exploit it to its full potential rather than wallowing in it.
2.5 out of 5 high fives!