Haraball: Sleep Tall

Heavy sounds from whiplash-inducing Oslo hardcore crew

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Further evidence that Norway – and especially Oslo – is currently producing some of the most uncompromising punk and hardcore music, Haraball were formed in 2011 out of the remains of straightedgers Tiebreak and (oh yes) Fairfuck.

Resolutely old school in dynamics and aesthetics, their sound slots in with all that came after hardcore’s first wave, when bands began to put meat on the bones of the genre’s initial sound. So the likes of Meat N Spirit and On The Bridge replicate the energised surges of Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits but with the sharp metallic edge of Agnostic Front.

The taut and portentous title track – a tribute to sleep, ‘the only truly meaningful thing I know’ – is a particular highlight. With hardcore now a catch-all term that includes all sorts of lightweight boy band atrocities with one eye on the charts, it’s always good to hear a band pile on the guitars, gang vocals and, with refreshing honesty, describe themselves as what happens when “cocky ex-straightedgers meet highbrow elitist punks.” Haraball are doing everything right.