It’s fair to say that in the ensuing months since I first introduced Hartheim, the Manchester band have started to generate the kind of buzz needed to seperate themselves from the pack. Debut offering Yellow was certainly an ambitious statement; that dark bellowing vocal still leaves me in a state of rapture after all this time, with it’s climactic ending worthy of a bigger stage.
Having since taken a handful of live shows, each outing seems to further cement them as a band to keep an eye on. Against an immersive visual backdrop, the brutal nature of Hartheim’s set is fully exposed; front-man Mike Emerson’s performance is at times hypnotic, channelling an almost uncomfortable emotion. There’s an element of theatricality and danger to be found here too, and they’ll need to be careful it doesn’t overshadow the music. That being said, this is a band willing to challenge both themselves and the audience.
In Welcome to Hartheim they have created a sound that echoes the work of Esben and the Witch, an unsettling narrative played against brooding guitars, before descending into a cavernous emptiness. When you tear apart the aesthetic exterior, Hartheim are aiming straight for the heart.