Friday, February 1, 2008

Will Haven Rules

There's not really much else to say regarding the band that is William Haven. I've been a super fan of this band since I first heard El Diablo in 1997 and to this day, listen to them all the time. There's just something this band has that countless others don't. Nothing special about them other than the perfect balance they always seem to find between heaviness and lyrical genius. When former frontman Grady Avnell screams at you, there is a slight aspect of fear that he might climb out the stereo to kill you.

What separates WH from all the others has always been Jeff Irwin, the bands' guitarist and main songwriter since their inception. His ethereal and haunting soundscapes have always made the band sound light years ahead and apart from their contemporaries. Listen to any of their three Grady-era full-lengths: El Diablo, WHVN and their masterpiece, 2001's Carpe Diem. They'd destroy with tracks like "Stick Up Kid", "Fresno" and "I've Seen My Fate", while pushing musical boundaries with tracks such as "Bats", "Foreign Film" and "Finest Our". My favorite WH track is "Moving To Montana". Hands down. A 10 minute epic about...Well, moving to Montana.

After they split in 2001, the band (sans Grady) formed Ghostride with Rey from Oddman and the guitarist from Tinfed. Think Kyuss, mixed with a hint of old Danzig, mixed with the riffing of Will Haven. Unbelievable stuff. They self-released an EP and then a full-length in the UK. Too bad they're done. I'd loved to have seen what could have been.

In 2006, rumors became a reality, when Grady rejoined the band and they wrote and recorded a new record. Shortly after, he leaves AGAIN, leaving the band high and dry. Enter Jeff Jaworski frontman of Sacramento hardcore heroes Red Tape. Buy their records, especially Radioactivist. True political hardcore punk. Jeff is the #1 WH fan (see him in the front row singing along on their goodbye DVD at WH's "last" show) and the perfect guy for the job. They re-record all the vocals with Jeff and in 2007, they released The Hierophant. 5 stars in Kerrang people. That's sick. The record isn't a classic, but it's Will Haven and it's just as fierce and diverse as all their previous works.

This is hardcore and metal and punk and awesome all rolled up into one band that has no boundaries. THIS is what hardcore used to be about. Recognize.

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