Sound: Post hardcore has returned in the form of North Carolina's rock quintet Harvard who show reflections of Circa Survive's high power voltage and blustery riffs with My Epic's sensibilities for ramming rock symphonies on the band's latest CD, The Inevitable And I from Enjoy The Ride Records. Produced by Brian McTernan (Circa Survive, Thrice, Hot Water Music), the album has the familiar battle-driven drumming and racing guitar thrusts of TREOS with the punk-inspired projectiles of Paramore. Lead vocalist Jesse Clasen stretches his lyrics across the thunderous imbroglios of guitarists Jason Shaw and Lee Herrera as the palpitating quakes of bassist Garret Leister and drummer Tim Cossor amplify the emotive impulses navigating the tracks. Tracks like Mr. T(th) and Deliverance create a ring of fiery guitar shards spewing from the center as a volley of jarring grumbles emerge from the rhythmic beating. The soft rock riffage of What We Had reduces the album to throngs of light cindering embers reflective of As Tall As Lions, which evolve into clusters of raging gales in Hallucinating The Horse wheedled in a series of peaks and descents thematic of Circa Survive.
The heaving motions in Clasen's vocals clutch the rattling sensations of the rhythmic pumping in The Creative wrapping around each other as the vigorous tensing in the guitar chords mold a rapturous hardcore gilding. The smooth acoustic guitar strums of the title track have a blissful gait contrasting the surges of guitar shreds in French Girls that flash along the seams. The rhythmic patterns of On With Disease and Memory Police soar and constrict in well-timed intervals transforming flaming spires into heaps of smoldering ash. The slowly churned strokes of An End Weight have a glossy finish, while Ghost is stylized with torches of spiky guitar trills and framed in hardcore edges. Harvard's album sounds like the band has something that they want to get off their chests as they channel their emotions through the intricate cuts splicing seething burns and rumbling beats with Clasen's heaving vocals. The energy in the band does justice to hardcore and their networking is flawless. // 8
Lyrics: Jesse Clasen shapes his vocals to fit the peaks and falls of the melodic grooves reminiscent of As Tall As Lions frontman Daniel Nigro. Also similarly to ATAL are Harvard's lyrics which oftentimes reach out to audiences like in Memory Police when Clasen incites, Anyone outraged Tell me what you are thinking about / Let's put this fire out. The track On With Disease ramps up the guitar shredding to support Clasen's penetrative vocals which apply assaulting pressure on the thorny lyrics, Come on, come on, say it Admit it, you're scared of an ocean fractured tear we are the fools. // 9
Overall Impression: The Inevitable And I is an ambitious effort from Harvard. The blazing shreds of guitarists Jason Shaw and Lee Herrera are Circa Survive flameworthy, and the mountainous thuds of bassist Garret Leister and drummer Tim Cossor stimulate adrenaline levels as the vocal swagger and assaulting pressure that Jesse Clasen applies penetrates the melodic cuts. Converging power rock and post hardcore, The Inevitable And I has all the right ingredients to stimulate adrenaline levels and stir up the spirit to defend one's own ground. // 9