Harvester – “The Blind Summit Recordings” (2013)

“Harvester are a Sabbath influenced band from Galway.”

That might be the most succinct one-sentence self-description by a band that I’ve ever read.

So far I’ve been pleased with the music I brought home from our recent trip to Ireland, and Harvester are one of the best of the lot. This may say as much about me and the styles of music I like (in this case, metal) than the actual musical chops of any of the bands, but hey, it’s my blog, so I guess you have to take it all with a grain of salt.

Harvester came together in 2011 and they recorded the six-song The Blind Summit Recordings in 2012 as something to post online, never intending it to be any kind of commercial release. But the internet is an amazing thing, and people all over the world started finding their music. They even came to the attention of the guys from Mastodon who asked Harvester to open for them at a pair of dates in Dublin. There was enough interested that the band was approached by Freak Flag Records about putting the album out on physical media, which is how The Blind Summit Recordings came to be released on CD (50 copies) and vinyl (numbered edition of 250) in 2013. Fortunately for me there was still a copy at Bell Book and Candle in Galway when I visited there a few weeks ago, and today it is rocking my Rega in a big way.

Harvester keeps it heavy with the bass and drums, and intricate and soaring with the guitars, the way metal is meant to be played. They don’t fall into any of the extreme subgenres like black metal, doom, death, speed… I’ve seen them referred to as “stoner metal,” and maybe there’s something to that due to their sludginess. Harvester put more emphasis on the “heavy” than on the “metal” part of the equation, which is certainly one of the things that appeals to me personally. “Atom Splitter” may be the hardest track on The Blind Summit Recordings, if for no other reason than Gavin Grealy’s vocals, which here stylistically come close to hardcore and are a departure from his sound on the rest of the record. The high point is the album, though, is the opener – “Cosmonautical Mile” is a relentless metal attack with some shredding guitar work to close out the last minute or so, a song that truly captures Harvester’s Sabbath influence.

If you like your metal, you can listen to The Blind Summit Recordings HERE. It looks like they even still have copies available on vinyl for €12, a steal in today’s world of $30 new releases.