Back in the mid 90’s, Sacramento, California had a very artistic music scene. Bands like Far and Deftones were starting to leave their mark not only in their area but everywhere. During this time though, there was another band that would take a slightly different turn from what their friends in Far and Deftones were doing. Instead of taking the melodic plunge, Will Haven opted for more of a dissidence approach with churning riffs and pummeling rhythms. Through the 20 years the band has been together, even with different line ups, one thing that can’t be mistaken is the impact Will Haven has left in heavy music.
Now in 2018, Will Haven are about to release their (final?) album Muerte (via MinusHEAD records). This album is a complete encapsulation of everything that the band has put into their music and albums. The heavy is still heavy only this time, they have added a bit more atmosphere to their sound. In 2001, Will Haven released an album called Carpe Diem that truly cemented the bands place in heavy music circles. Muerte seems like it’s the album that would have followed that one up. Beginning with the smack in the face of “Hewed With The Brand” and “Winds Of Change” you can tell that this album is not going to let up. In fact the unrelenting nature of Muerte carries through with songs like “43,” Unit K,” “The Son,” “Bootstraps,” and “Now In The Ashes.” The songs “No Escape” featuring Mike Schiedt of YOB and “El Sol” which features Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter, really take the album to another level from all their others.
Vocalist Grady Avenell sounds as good if not better than he did at the height of the band way back when. Jeff Irwin (guitar), Adrien Contreras (bass) and Mitch Wheeler (drums) have crafted riffs and rhythms that will draw you in and then attack with a ferocious thunder. If Muerte is Will Haven’s final album, then they really are going out with a bang. The only thing left would be for Deftones to go out on tour and bring Will Haven along (like they did way back when) and let Will Haven destroy the audience. (I’m just putting that out in the aether).
Overall Rating: 9/10
Winds Of Change:
El Sol- Featuring Stephen Carpenter:
Review By: Brian Lacy
As the fog rolled in on a damp December night in Orange County, it only seemed fitting that the atmospheric pressure would drop as Neurosis came to town. The thunderous Neurosis came back to Southern California for the second time in 2013. This time they rode into Orange County with a mission to obliterate the audience with it’s signature apocalyptic heaviness. Earlier in the year the band decided to stop using any visual aspects in the background as they played, thus leaving 5 members on a dark lit stage. Their new setup really takes things into a different dimension. The songs invoke more use of the audiences imagination and taps into a different part of the psyche. Still riding high on the release of 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, Neurosis’s setlist for the night was one for the books. While playing a few from the newest album, the band tapped back into “A Sun That Never Sets” for the evening. (I’m quite partial to that album, especially “Stones From The Sky,” which closed out the set). Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till carry the beast of the band vocally into the dark sub conscious of the musics being. Their accompanying guitar work on the songs fit perfectly with how Jason Roeder and Dave Edwardson tap into the brooding rhythms, and Noah Landis adds the extra prowess with his ambient landscapes behind the band. The pure energy and emotion that pours throughout the band during their live show is quite a sight. Scott Kelly tends to draw blood during the set, showing that “All we are is blood.” At the end of the night there was no mistaking why Neurosis is one of the most influential bands of the last 20 years. Their mastery of their craft and art is undeniable and reigns true to themselves and the fans.
Before Neurosis took the stage, BL’AST got the audience into a fine frenzy. BL’AST recently reunited and came back with quite a vengeance. Coming off their reissued album “It’s In My Blood” (which was remixed by Dave Grohl), and armed with Nick Oliveri playing bass for the band live, BL’AST delivered a very hardcore set. Cliff Dinsmore despite being a tad out of breath at the end of their set, commanded the stage as though he never left. Armed with the signature AMPEG acrylic guitar Mike Neider chugged through the riffs with authority.
YOB was one of the openers for the night and laid down some heaviness to get things started. Even with their technical problems, the band churned out a well rehearsed set with a good amount of energy to help flow though the night. Also opening the night was Helen Money. Helen is a one person act with a cello that plays deconstruction music. Her sultry cello sounds mixed through distortion and delay radiated though the venue as people started walking in, providing a very diverse sound for the evening.
Neurosis Set List:
A Sun That Never Sets
At The Well
We All Rage In Gold
From The Hill
Water Is Not Enough
Bleeding The Pigs
Stones From The Sky
Review by: Brian Lacy
Photos by LEVAN TK instagram.com/levan_t_k