Will Haven – Open The Mind To Discomfort

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Artery Recordings
Released: May 2015
Buy Album [URL]: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/open-the-mind-to-discomfort/id973083005?ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/willhavenband

WILLHAVEN_OTMTD_1Band line-up:

Grady Avenell – Vocals
Jeff Irwin – Guitar
Anthony Paganelli – Guitar
Mitch Wheeler – Drums
Adrien Contreras – Bass


01. A
02. Soul Leach
03. Do You Have A Light
04. B
05. Hermit
06.  C
07. The Comet
08. D
09. POP 14


Sacramento 5 piece Will Haven return with their first new offering with original vocalist Grady Avenell, since 2001’s ‘Carpe Diem’. The band were formed from former members of ‘Sock’ in 1995, and their debut EP was released a year later to great acclaim. But following Carpe Diem’s release, Avenell left to focus on raising a family and when the band re-grouped in 2005 he did indeed return, but when his wife fell ill in Paris, forcing him to miss shows, so Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro, Craig B of Aereogramme, Mikey Dee of Skindred, all stepped in to perform guest vocals in his place. Jeff Jaworski replaced him on vocals for a time, but Avenell re-joined the band fully in 2009, though he did not feature in 2011’s release ‘Voir Dire’.

Dubbed ‘the hardest working band in showbiz’, the band’s reputation as the elite of their genre remains untouched, and many younger bands including Deftones, Glassjaw & Poison the Well owe much to Will Haven. Described as ‘raw claustrophobia in its most menacing form’, their music is not for the fainthearted.

 If 23 seconds can be classed as a track, then ‘A’ is a doom filled piano segment that leads the listener into the brutal ‘Soul Leach’, despair rippling through every note, desolation bursting from the slow beat of the drum. ‘Do You Have a Light’ has more urgency about it, but retains the wretchedness that oozes into the soul.
‘B’ is an eerie interlude that conducts you into ‘Hermit’, another bleak and mournful song, punctuated by fierce drum beats. While the atmospheric ‘C’ connects to ‘The Comet’, a ruthless assault upon the ears. Finally ‘D’ bridges the gap, with a moody instrumental section breaking into ‘Pop 14’, the longest of the tracks, equally fraught and dark.

In all honesty, I would not personally choose to listen to this style of music, preferring to steer clear of depressing music, but at the same time I can see the relevance of this style to others and Will Haven certainly does demonstrate a skill at creating something utterly desperate and forlorn that will be attractive to many.

For me, not being able to extract meaning from the wailing style of vocal means you have to focus on the landscape the music conjures up, and here it is as bleak as the moors in winter and as barren as the craters on the moon. So for those who enjoy their metal a shade darker than black, this will be most pleasing.

 Review by Lisa Nash