Sometimes to get a really accurate/real time feel for an album I’ll type notes in the drafts here as I’m listening through a record for the first time. Then there are other times where I’ll be so transfixed by what’s coming out of my speakers that I just can’t type anything. Sometimes in awe. Sometimes because of fear. A new Will Haven album usually takes up a healthy amount of both within my psyche because, on the one hand, the music they put forth is usually so spot on. So perfect. But on the other hand there’s the fear that whatever I type here won’t be able to properly convey how truly amazing the music Will Haven lay down is.
But I digress.
Combining the raw ferocity of El Diablo with the maturity of Carpe Diem and that sonic wall the band perfectly honed on Voir Dire and Open the Mind to Discomfort, Muerte truly is the ultimate Will Haven album.
Our number one most anticipated heavy album of 2018 is almost upon us so prepare for every word we can think of that relates to “epic” to be used during the course of this review. Case in point with “Hewed With the Brand” which begins with an ethereal segue until Grady Avenell’s unmistakable screech leads the rest of Will Haven into this bludgeoning opener. Then “Winds of Change” offers a brutal call/response between Avenell and the rest of the band before Mitch Wheeler’s epic drumming builds alongside Jeff Irwin’s immense wall of guitars and noise to create an ominous feel overall.
“The Son” is a droning dirge built around these cathedral-like synths and rolling drums while “43” is propelled onward from the avalanche of sludge created by Adrien Contreras’ bass rumblings and Wheeler’s hypnotic drone. Guest Mike Scheidt of YOB brings an air of brevity to “No Escape” which stumbles in next before “Unit K” brings back the visceral intensity from the opening onslaught straight through to its’ conclusion.
Later on, “Now in the Ashes” redefines “modern” Will Haven with a track that’s brimming with brutal sounds as it pummels forth amidst a sinister backdrop. Closing with the beyond punishing “El Sol”, featuring deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter, the longest track on here also happens to be the most intense as it is over six minutes of uninhibited yet wholly focused Will Haven madness.
There’s been a sense of finality stemming from recent interviews with various members of the Sacramento outfit and, while it would be a crushing blow to the heavy music scene, Muerte really is the definitive Will Haven record and if they do go out, at least it’s with a resounding bang.
Muerte is out on March 23rd through Minus Head Records. Pre-order options are available now via PledgeMusic and Bandcamp. For the latest on Will Haven, head on over to those social media pages that the kids love so much by clicking here.