DYING VICTIMS PRODUCTIONS is proud to present a long-overdue vinyl LP edition of Doom on You, the lone cult album of Michigan’s HARBINGER.
Originally released in 2009 by Chris Black’s Planet Metal label but only on CD, Doom on You would be the only full-length Lansing, Michigan’s HARBINGER would record. While a couple demos preceded it and a late-coming split 7” with Züül would be released in 2015, the band effectively broke up following the album’s original release, and Doom on You would successively grown in stature as a gem of cult American metal.
HARBINGER had its roots in a preceding band called Thwarter, which was admittedly “hugely influenced by Holy Terror, Sabbat, and Sadus.” As Thwarter eventually transitioned into HARBINGER and the lineup began to solidify, their style shifted away from thrash-leaning to more classic heavy metal, influenced as much by NWOBHM mainstays as Satan, Avenger, Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis, and Tokyo Blade as well as the power metalled likes of Gotham City, Nocturnal Rites, and Jag Panzer. With the joining of bassist Doc, HARBINGER then recorded a whole album’s worth of songs.
“This was around 2005 to 2006,” guitarist Victron Power L. continues the story. “Though the band never really caught on except with a few local friends at the time, we decided we should try to record the songs around that time. This was ill fated, and the original recording session with our friend Kevin was a disaster due to far too much partying, poor rehearsal, and overwhelming levels of power. We threw in the towel around 2007 but decide to give it another go a year later that resulted in the album Doom on You, or ‘Fuck You’ in Vietnamese.”
However, that second go didn’t yield the intended results, continues the guitarist: “The recording of Doom on You the second time around was not necessarily better managed, and still there was much tomfoolery and partying, and even the initial recordings from 2008 were are also destroyed in a cataclysmic event involving a bottle of alcohol, a misstep, and collision with the recording devices. However, upon the third attempt to record the album, we were able to see it through to the end, and that album is what you see here.”
Like a band out of time, HARBINGER strafed against the prevailing paradigms of 2009, when Doom on You was finally released, but there’s equally an effervescent sense of freshness here that puts the record far beyond retro retread. Raw and slick simultaneously, flashy yet fierce and also FUN, brimming with bright leads and dark ones, and an utterly engaging GOING-FOR-IT attitude, it’s practically impossible not to get swept up in Doom on You. The punk roots of most of the band’s members give their classic American power metal style a unique aspect, with a bevy of unusual twists and turns that, say, Agent Steel would’ve taken, but that just makes HARBINGER hit that much harder and lodge the album deeper into its your psyche. Seriously, this is cult metal for cult metallers, played by cult metallers!
“Though there was a lot of passion, a lot of friendship, and also a lot of bickering, we were able to leave this testament for us and a few of our friends who really liked what we did,” concludes Victron. “After the album came out on CD through Chris Black’s old label Planet Metal Records, we did one more show with Cauldron and Enforcer at Blondies in Detroit and put the band on a rest. We would return some years later to record a new song and play some concerts, but it was a little different and maybe should have been called something else.”
The members of HARBINGER played in many other projects afterwards: vocalist Matt Warr had Wastelander and now Low Magic; Doc had Locust Point; and Victron along with drummer Sean Cyriis and fellow guitarist David Ruiz followed with Borrowed Time and now Prelude to Ruin. But that one lone album document of Doom on You retained such a special magic, such a snapshot in time, that DYING VICTIMS felt duty-bound to preserve the name of Michigan’s HARBINGER for posterity – and we’re all the richer that it’s suitably (and FINALLY) being released on the format it so deserves, VINYL!