Austrian Black Metal Band Harakiri for the Sky Find Beauty Amidst Breakdowns in 'You Are the Scars': Exclusive Video Premiere

Harakiri for the Sky
Courtesy Photo

Harakiri for the Sky

Matthias Sollak Skype calls me from Austria after a successful practice with Harakiri for the Sky, the atmospheric black metal band he founded in 2011 in Vienna. They’re rehearsing with a new bassist to accompany them on tour next year in support of their fourth album, Arson, and the lyric video for its first single, “You Are the Scars,” is premiering Thursday (Dec. 7) on Billboard.

Sollak -- M.S. for short -- wrote all the music on Arson, as with every other Harakiri album, before handing the songs over to vocalist and lyricist Michael V. Wahntraum (known simply as J.J.). Joining the duo this time is veteran death metal drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner, who’s toured with Behemoth and played regularly with Decapitated and Septicflesh.

“You Are the Scars” is a ferocious, 10-minute epic, blending massive power chords and cathartic screams with moments of tranquility, punctuated by ethereal guitar and piano melodies. It sounds like a massive undertaking for one musician, but Sollak thrives in solidarity. “I was never jamming a lot with people. I was always writing stuff for myself at home,” he says. “I can express myself properly if I don’t have to listen to five other people wanting to influence the songs.”

Lechner, meanwhile, lends a noticeable groove to the proceedings, interspersing his crushing breakdowns with delicate fills and the lightning-speed blast beats, a black metal hallmark. These dynamics make “You Are the Scars” a remarkably palatable track despite its length, without sacrificing one iota of heaviness. “I think you need some time to breathe,” Sollak says. “If it’s just five minutes in your face, it can be really exhausting.”

Arson follows Harakiri for the Sky’s universally acclaimed third album, 2016's III: Trauma. Sollak didn’t want to rush the follow-up, allowing the music to flow naturally rather than adhering to a deadline. “Some songs I write at six in the morning when I come home drunk and I have ideas, and the others, I sit at home three days and I play a riff for half an hour and can maybe just use one part,” he says. “It really depends. But I have to say, I write most stuff early in the morning or when I’m hungover or when I come home, because then I have this unfiltered mind. Then I just play and it works better. It’s the best state to write music in, I think.”

By deftly mixing black metal and post-rock, Sollak turned Harakiri for the Sky from a casual studio project into a full-fledged touring and recording outfit. Still, he tries to take his work in stride and delights in playing for anyone who will listen. “We played a lot live in the last few years, and we played from the smallest basements up to the bigger venues, and it’s always fun,” he says. “We just love to play live, and I think that’s also why we got there. We just play so many shows and get our name out there.”

Harakiri for the Sky’s Arson comes out Feb. 16 on AOP Records and is available for pre-order here. Watch the “You Are the Scars” lyric video and see their 2018 tour dates below.


Harakiri for the Sky 2018 Tour Dates

01/17 - Turku, FI @ Gong
01/18 - Tampere, FI @ Klubi
01/19 - Jyväskylä, FI @ JKL Metal Festival
01/20 - Helsinki, FI @ Metal Crane Festival
01/21 - Tallinn, EE @ Tapper
01/25 - Malmö, SE @ Babel
01/26 - Göteborg, SE @ Musikens hus
01/27 - Stockholm, SE @ Klubben
01/28 - Karlstad, SE @ Nöjesfabriken
01/29 - Oslo, NO @ Revolver
02/10 - Vienna, AT @ Szene Wien (Exclusive Release Arson Show)
03/02 - Essen, DE @ Turock
03/03 - Vosselaar, BE @ Biebob Concerts
03/05 - Nantes, FR @ Le Ferrailleur - Café Concert
03/06 - Paris, FR @ O’Sullivans Backstage
03/07 - Colmar, FR @ Legrillen Grillen
03/08 - Aarau, CH @ KIFF
03/09 - Pavia, IT @ DAGDA Live Club
03/10 - San Donà di Piave, IT @ Revolver Club
03/12 - Budapest, HU @ A38 Hajó
03/13 - Kraków, PL @ Klub Alchemia
03/14 - Magdeburg, DE @ Factory
03/15 - Erfurt, DE @ Club From Hell
03/16 - Berlin, DE @ Roadrunners Rock & Motor Club
03/17 - Mannheim, DE @ MS Connexion Complex
03/18 - Tilburg, NL @ Poppodium 013


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