Album Review: Will Haven – VII

Album Review: Will Haven - VII
Reviewed by Carl Black

Less arty farty than the Deftones, faster than Crowbar; Sacramento's Will Haven have reached album number seven with latest release 'VII'. I can still distinctively remember the first time I heard Will Haven., a cassette give away with Kerrang!. On said cassette was 'I Have Seen My Fate' which put all the other songs into a very deep shadow. I immediately went and bought the album 'El Diablo' and the self-titled EP that proceeded it and went and saw them live on their next tour. This was of course in the heady days of the 90s so I'm extremely interested to see what has happened to Will Haven in the intervening years.

Truth be told, not a lot has changed. Jeff Irwin’s riffs are still punishingly heavy. In fact, 'VII' is one of the heaviest albums I've heard this year. Vocalist Grady Avenell never takes his foot off the gas and is screaming during every single song. Even during the quiet bits his voice is in the red zone. The rhythm section of Adrien Contreras (bass) and Mitch Wheeler (drums) are big, bold and relatively simple with just a touch of atmospheric keys to bulk out the sound, this is Will Haven in a nutshell.

Album Review: Will Haven - VII

Opening cut 'Luna' is a vicious short blast of intent. It wraps this whole album up in one and a half minutes. A preview, a taster, whatever you want to call it; if you want to turn off after the first song please do so because you're not going to like the rest of the album. Those that continue will be treated to such finery as 'Five of Fire', with its driving lead off riffs and trippy breakdown. Doomy opening riff of 'For All Future Time' smashes together two fine guitar slabs. Mid-paste chaos 'Diablito' follows and 'Palomo's Blessing' has another two huge riffs followed by a sound scape to see the song to its close.

Will Haven have not progressed their sound or their dynamic or their ethos too much since the mid 90’s. If you like the other albums, you'll like this one for sure. Some may well say that they are a bit samey and they should develop their sound; there can be little argument regards this. Anyone of these songs would have given me the same feeling as that first time I heard them on the Karrang! giveaway cassette. But I just can't help going back for more. If you've made a plan and you stick to it… I applaud you. With riffs, song writing and execution of this quality, it's very difficult not to like it. A great album if you like this band. Same as you were if you didn't.

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