All-out rock assult in the finest hardcore fashion.
Reports in the music press late last year suggested that Sacramento metallers
Will Haven’s hotly anticipated third album, ‘Carpe Diem’, was going to be a
double set – the main disc accompanied by a venture into “mellow, ambient”
music inspired by, among other things, the electronic textures of Radiohead‘s
‘Kid A’. And why not? With the critical fraternity hailing Tool’s 2001 magnum
opus ‘Lateralus’ as the metal ‘OK Computer’, this is fine timing to get in on
the prog-metal action.
In fact, ‘Carpe Diem’ is nothing of the sort. This is an album of stunningly
intense heaviosity, a brutal slideshow of corruption, self-mutilation and
spiritual emptiness set to a musical bleakdrop of dovetailing,
super-distorted metal riffs and near-industrial hardcore rhythms. Released on
original straight-edger’s imprint Revelation Records in the US, these ten tracks
bristle with the kind of strident, ferocious enthusiasm that the label’s
hardcore contingent – Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge – pioneered
back in the late 80s and early 90s.
But where records from those bands now sound anaemic and schoolboy-thin up against the bull-necked monstrosities that populate the modern metal climate, the likes of ‘Alpha Male’ – a piercing satire of jock mentality, frontman Grady Avenell daring [I]”Give up your
identity/Become a slave and take one for the team”[/I] – find Will Haven
flexing, proudly, loudly, after a stint at Charles Atlas Rock School.
It all comes to a splendid climax on the coruscating, shrill ‘Moving To
Montana’. Lyrically, we finds sunlight piercing the clouds, Avenell singing
of hope, [I]”for fresh air and some peace/for this young marriage” [/I] – but his
words are bellowed with such vicious intent, it sounds as if he can’t wait to
wash their taste from his mouth.
Seems that the bleeps and the squelches can come later. ‘Carpe Diem’ means,
literally, ‘seize the day’ – and you can be sure, the sound of a messy,
cleansing purge in the name of rock’n’roll has seldom sounded more urgent. (