|Norwegian metal music has taken on many shapes in the past decade, but few groups have achieved the near painful beauty of pure industrial metal like Red Harvest. It´s been more than ten years since the release of their first album - years spent on the border lines between alternative art music and metal mayhem. Red Harvest are true veterans of Norwegian metal music, along with such bands as Mayhem, Cadaver and Darkthrone. They have never been part of the controversial black metal scene, yet their best music contains more than enough energy to burn down churches by its sonic impact alone. The persistent five piece have often been touring both domestically and abroad, but is still something of a rather well kept secret among connoisseurs of dark, driving rock music. When pressed to describe themselves, the members will come up with labels like Apocalyptic Industrial Paranoia Metal. But like most truly great music, the sonic assault of Red Harvest defy all labelling.
The seeds for the current band started growing many years ago. Thomas (bass) replied to Jimmy's (guitar, vocals) advert in a Norwegian metal fanzine and the two meet in February 1987. At the time Jimmy played in a band called Artic Thunder with drummer Cato Bekkevold. Artic Thunder played speed / thrash metal inspired by bands like Helloween, Metallica, early Metal Church and Artch. Cato left later that year, Thomas and Jimmy recruited two new band members and they continued raising hell as Artic Thunder until the band split up in the summer of 1989.
Shortly after this Cato was ready for more chaos, a second guitar player called Jan Nygaard was drafted in and Red Harvest was born. The band name seems to be a bit of a mystery with no real origins or meaning, after bouncing around several different names they settled on this one as they thought it was the best they had come up with!
They immediately started writing and rehearsing material while trying to survive financially by doing various shitty day jobs. The first result of the bands work was their first demo called 'Ocultica' which came out towards the end of 1989.
Track list: 1. Embrace Of Misery 2. Beneath The Mask 3. Spirit Of The Serpent.
The band played gigs in their native Norway and they continued to work towards making their first album. In 1990 a second demo was unleashed, called 'Psychotica'.
Track list: 1. Face The Fact. 2. Acid. 3. Sane In Solitude. 4. Faithful Unto Death. 5. D-F-Song.
More gigs followed, including the bands first outside of Norway when they played in Sveadale, Sweden in 1991.
The band started recording for their first album in the summer of 1991 and the result, 'Nomindsland', surfaced in 1992 on the Black Mark label. The guys toured the UK in 1993 with Cavader, a couple of the gigs had a very young Cradle of Filth on the bill.
The result of more writing / rehearsing appeared in 1994 with the release of Red Harvest's second album 'There's Beauty in the Purity of Sadness' on the bands new record label Voices Of Wonder. Lars Sørensen helped out during the recording and mixing process for the album, and later in the year he joined Red Harvest doing keyboards and additional drumming. A video for the first track on the album 'Wounds' was made and banned in Norway due to it's violent content (the video showed dead bodies, people getting executed, burned corpses, etc) - despite this MTV pick up on the video and give it some heavy rotation. Red Harvest also appeared on the compilation 'The Reincarnation of the Sun', released in 1994 on the small label Dunkel Prod.
Tracks: 1. Primal 2. Receival of Truth 3. Resist (different version than on There's Beauty...)
Following more gigs in Norway the band headed for a tour of Germany, which had to be cancelled due to Cato getting sick. Later in 1994 Jan quits Red Harvest and Ketil (guitars / vocals) replaces him. The guys already know Ketil well as he played in a band called DunkelHeit, a side project involving Jimmy and Lars.
The band record an EP 'The Maztür Nation' in 1995 with their 2 new band members. The band tour the EP in several European countries and a video was made for the track 'Enlighten The Child'. With the line up settling down the band started work on their 3rd full-length album. The stunning result, 'HyBreed', was released in 1996. This release, the video for the final track on the album 'The Burning Wheel' and more gigs across Northern Europe strengthened the bands cult following.
More gigs follow in 1997, including supporting Type O Negative. Cato leaves the band and drummer Erik Wroldsen is recruited from Trivial Act as a replacement. The band takes time out to rehearse properly with Erik.
1998 sees a refreshed Red Harvest record and launch the amazing EP 'NewRage World Music'. Gigs follow as the band take their new sound out on the road.
Their record deal with Voices Of Wonder ultimately proves to be disappointing and in 1999 the band sign to Nocturnal Art. A few gigs aside most of this year is spent writing their next album.
'Cold Dark Matter' was released to almost unanimous critical acclaim. The number of reviews which start by saying they couldn't believe how good this band are and why had they never heard of them was unbelievable. The bands fan base continued to grow and a European tour supporting Mayhem took the band to 10 different countries.
'Cold Dark Matter' was released in 2001 in North America on Relapse Records, the album contains bonus tracks from the 'NewRage World Music' EP. Around the same time Nocturnal Art re-release the 'NewRage' EP under the title 'New World Rage Music'. The re-release contains 4 new killer tracks and the band gig in Norway and the UK. Summer 2001 the band started work on their next album.
Summer 2001 the band started working on the album 'Sick Transit Gloria Mundi'. The album was recorded in November and December the same year at Akkerhaugen Studioes (Emperor, Windir, Zyklon) with producer Neil Kernon. The album was released in April 2002 and got top scores in more or less all newspapers and magazines. Red Harvest played gigs in Norway and the UK, and got nominated to the Norwegian Grammy (Spelemannsprisen) and the alternative Alarm Award as the best metal act from Norway 2002. In 2003 Red Harvest was among the headliners at the Inferno and the Quart Festival in Norway. November 2003 many countries in Europe was revisited by Red Harvest.
At the moment the band is recording and preparing the new album (title TBA). The album is recorded at Subsonic Society in Oslo and will be mixed in Fredmanns Studioes in Gothenburg, Sweden. Release is set to medio September 2004 on Nocturnal Art Productions. Candlelight will handle the album in North America.
Nomindsland (BMP 19), CD, Black Mark Productions 1992
There´s Beauty In The Purity Of Sadness (VOW 039). CD, Voices Of Wonder, 1994
The Maztür Nation (VOW 046). MCD, Voices Of Wonder, 1995
HyBreed (VOW 052). CD, Voices Of Wonder, 1996.
NewRage World Music (VOW 072). MCD, Voices Of Wonder 1998
Cold Dark Matter (Eclipse 014) CD, Nocturnal Art Productions 2000
Cold Dark Matter (RLP 6479) CD, Relapse Records, US release 2001
New World Rage Music (Eclipse 019) CD, Nocturnal Art Productions 2001
Sick Transit Gloria Mundi (Eclipse 020) CD, Nocturnal Art Productions 2002
Sick Transit Gloria Mundi (RLP 6537) CD, Relapse Records, US release 2002
TBA (Eclipse xxx) CD, Nocturnal Art Productions 2004