Tuesday, 10 April 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Will Haven, "Muerte"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/03/2018
Label: Minus Head Records

 “Muerte” is a glorious affirmation of Will Haven's greatness and raises the bar for heavy music in 2018, an awesome awe inspiring achievement for a band 23 years into their existence.

“Muerte” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Hewed With the Brand
2. Winds of Change
3. Kinney
4. The Son
5. 43
6. No Escape (feat. Mike Scheidt of YOB)
7. Unit K
8. Ladwig No. 949
9. Bootstraps
10. Now in the Ashes
11. El Sol (feat. Stephen Carpenter)

The Review:

Hopes of heavy veterans returning with an album that rivals their finest early work are rarely realised. Sacramento hellraisers Will Haven gave a timely reminder of their potent racket on 2011 LP “Voir Dire”. After a lengthy break the band now return with the awe-inspiring “Muerte”, a massive record that gives “Carpe Diem” a run for its money as their finest hour.

The quiet ambience of “Hewed With The Brand” is soon shattered by Grady Avenell’s glass gargling bark which heralds an earth-shaking explosion of riffage. Straight away the band lock into their trademark staccato assault, sounding bigger, heavier and uglier than ever before. The material here strikes a perfect balance between maintaining Will Haven’s crushing sonic palette while adding new layers of songwriting complexity. Will Haven have always had a penchant for hypnotic, effects-heavy interludes of calm in amongst the mayhem but now these sections have been incorporated into more challenging, dynamic compositions like “The Son” and “Now In The Ashes”. Key to this epic, immersive sound is the more prominent use of keyboards. When they were first introduced on “Voir Dire” they added a welcome subtle texture to the bands rumbling sludge. Now they have evolved into an all-encompassing wash of ethereal noise that lends these tracks a rich, unique atmosphere.  

No Escape” provides a powerful centrepiece to the album bolstered by a stunning guest vocal performance by YOB’s Mike Scheidt. A typically brutal lumbering explodes into a slow-motion lament with Scheidt’s timeless croon really hammering home the emotion. The melancholic doom of the outro is strangely beautiful with wordless howls conveying an aching sadness.

Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter joins the fray for the massive finale of “El Sol”. This track is a perfect celebration of the friendship between these two hugely influential bands and demonstration of what both are capable of at the peak of their powers.

The possibility of Will Haven delivering one of the albums of 2018 seemed minimal at the start of the year. “Muerte” is a glorious affirmation of their greatness and raises the bar for heavy music in 2018, an awesome achievement for a band 23 years into their existence.

“Muerte” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook