Sound: There are quite a number of popular and assertive bands today that are unafraid to mention Will Haven as an influence, and although that surprises me, it's also reassuring. Seeing such a small, yet aggressive cult band sway the tides of far larger acts such as Deftones and Slipknot is a wonderful thing. It allows the more clandestine fans to associate themselves with the fans of other, more popular groups like Soulfy and Fear Factory, who they have all toured with. A point to think about when listening to this fantastical band.
Will Haven have been an underground Hardcore-Metal act since they formed in 1995. It was after the break-up phase, and the rebirth of the band in 2005, that following two years of writing, a tour was undergone of Europe promoting their most recent record, The Hierophant. And because of that, when a track is played, you always feel as if you've been awkwardly punched in the face. And when you listen to the entire album in one sitting, it feels like you're on the hard ground being stamped on multiple times with heavy boots! Each song contains a repeating beat that spines it's way through the entire 46 minute epic album, but on occasions, is done with a slight twist; maybe with a snare thrown in on the third beat, instead of the fourth. And that normally grates on me, leaving the listener irritated. But on this juncture, I found myself grooving it every single time, like it was a whole new experience. Maybe that's a personal thing, but I thought it wise for me to point it out; that maybe someone else will miss that character.
The guitar tone is very dirty and dirge, but still retains a certain perforating prowess that is high in the mix and thus, confident. The band, as a whole, fits neatly together, as the drums and bass regularly show off their abilities by straying slightly from tempos and then regathering themselves back into the solid groove. Doing so shows dimension and non-linearity, like classical music - instead of country music. The Grunge and punk aspect comes shining through in that regard, particularly in songs like Dolph Lundgren and Miguel Encontro la Fe Otra Vez.
There are also moments of quiet contemplation, as softly picked, short arpeggios flutter over an immense landscape of sound, demonstrated in the track Dressed in Night Clothes. It then returns to the pounding enthusiasm with typical, yet psychotic authority. Bats and Finest Our, then shows their clear ability to create interesting and certifiable sounds through whatever medium they deem fit. There's no denying that these lads can create an insane picture, as well as rock insanely inside their atmospheric grooves and earth-shuddering screams. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are as frenzied as the music itself, combining cryptic metaphors with rugged, blunt ferociousness. Of course, the vocal styling adds a huge amount of viciousness to the equation, and the lyrics themselves don't solely bring about that scared, victimised sensation that is difficult to ignore when paying strict attention which this record tends to demand.
The opening line of the album speaks mostly for what you are in store for: He cut his nose to spite his face. And it continues to thrive off similarly weird, but oddly obtainable and understandable analogies and imagery. The beautiful disorder of Finest Our shows how simplicity can quite easily evoke intense emotions from a reader, and also a writer. That you don't need pages upon pages of literary masturbation to grab a listener.
You also notice elements of sadness from tracks such as Bats, that possibly relate back to self harm and under... going down. Which really shows that these boys aren't gormless idiots who only want to throw their guitars into their careers, and smite any stage goer or record company for being, 'unadulterated'.
It's possible to detect where Deftones lyricist found his 'ethos' from, as Carpe Diem and Alpha Male proudly testifies. And doing so encourages you greatly, particularly as a huge fan of Chino Moreno's simply potent, and slightly transparent lyrics. The same is the case with the words from this album, penned most likely by former lead singer Grady Avenell. You feel off-put, but at the same time, succumbed and 'there'. Nothing is sure, but everything is important. A line out of place, makes a line out of mind. And to some degree, that is a good thing which Will Haven know perfectly how to prove. // 10
Overall Impression: To me, it's the grooves. Listening to Alpha Male and Miguel Encontro la Fe Otra Vez when they break down is truly epic. It feels like it's never going to stop. The same is the case for the single Carpe Diem, which has a genuinely unique and eclectic vibe to the song and video, similar to that of something Neurosis or The Melvins would do.
The psychotic bongo-like drums in the conclusion of possibly the heaviest track, Miguel Encontro la Fe Otra Vez, also is something that I can look up to you as a band member and a writer. That I can show this kind of thing to my band mates, and feed of it, like it was a dead carcass in the dry sun. Although we are quite lucky to never feel empty of inspiration, listening to Will Haven does something else quite poignant and important: instead of delicately pointing out tiny areas to siphon through, it throws down a bunch of grapes and forces you to stamp on them repeatedly until you see the wine seeping out from underneath your shoes. You then take it and make it your own. Add your spices, add your beats. Take away what's not yours, and put in what clearly is.
This is a masterpiece of brutality and cohesion. Never have I looked forward so much to a beat, repeated, pounded, and reincarnated so many times. // 9