Will Haven : Carpe Diem

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. (

Louis Pattison