Right behind SIERRA comes another discovery for the KYLESA-backed Retro Futurist label, JAGGED VISION. Instead of plunging through the deep American South where KYLESA calls home and allies themselves with other underground sludge monsters, Retro Futurist first tapped into the Canadian scene to turn up SIERRA. Now Retro Futurist exposes Norway's JAGGED VISION to a worldwide audience. Consider both signees transcontinental kindred, even more so in the case of JAGGED VISION, as they have all the brackish ingredients to roll with Phillip Cope and KYLESA. Point made, all three bands have recently hit the bricks together on tour.
About the only complaint to JAGGED VISION's "Harvest Earth" album is its sweeping back of Ole Urke Wik's sooty vocals in the finish. Wik is rambunctious, to be sure, yet the album's mix throws the band's taut riffing and often dazing harmonics in front of everything else. Wik's echoing ralphs are frequently drowned, much less the extra backing screams that turn up. He comes through best on the closing number "Lose Control", a song that actually scales back the density of the guitars on the first couple verses. That's not JAGGED VISION's norm, however.
Otherwise, they impressively dirty up their bashing fuzz bombs with incisive chunks of stoner, punk, crunk, sludge, boogie and even threads of black metal. On the opening number, "Darkness in Light", JAGGED VISION slavers their sludge boogie drive with noxious black metal lines, creating a culture-clashed opening statement that rocks as much as it startles. This band almost never turns their dials down and as constantly whirring songs like "Trapped Forever" and "Shadows Glide" or the KYLESA-reminiscent "No Peace" and "Path of Bones" exhibit, there's not a single lick of compromise.
The deep driving hardcore tones of "Shadows Glide" is slam ready and full of mid-tempo rat-a-tat drumming amidst the track's otherwise steady flow. Carrying more of a Southern boogie shuffle with the same punk drive is "Electric Empire", which wields hard-hitting choruses and a pair of downright vicious breakdowns. The snare rolling intro of the shifty title track hints at a potential skate jam, but JAGGED VISION sends "Harvest Earth" onto a blitzing path of black metal-fused agitation. The song rolls hurriedly then turns reckless with double-timed grind before slowing down to another hardcore rhythm as the first of a handful of signature changes. Unpredictable and always exciting, "Harvest Earth" is a brute.
Of course, what would a Phillip Cope affiliated project be without a cameo from the host himself? Cope checks in on "Spiritual Invasion" and screams the hell out of his parts, ironically coming through far clearer than Ole Urke Wik.
The issue of "Harvest Earth"'s slackened vocal mix will become moot to most listeners since JAGGED VISION are noisier and more ready to play than opening night at "The Lego Movie". They clobber their riffs and beats and they stand tall where it counts in the energy department. Lightning strikes twice in a jiff for Retro Futurist Records.