Review Summary: Locally and (kind of) world renowned Sacramento hardcore outfit make a slight misstep in lineup by mixing too much Deftones in with Hatebteed.0 of 1 thought this review was well written
Will Haven are a well-established four-piece hardcore/metal (but not metalcore) outfit based in Sacramento. Wait, did I say Sacramento? Let me rephrase that: Will Haven are local heroes from Sacto, CA, my hometown and origins, and the same consistent (and consistently underrated) scene that birthed alternative metal godfathers Deftones and renowned HxC tough guys Hoods. And boy has the scene given back in spades, as both the chunky, downtuned riffs of the ‘Tones and the yelled/barked vocals of the brothers Hood have sculpted Will Haven’s sound over the years. The influence is especially apparent on the boys’ first effort in six years, The Hierophant, and their first without founding vocalist Grady Avenell.
Speaking of Grady, his absence in the lineup is the disc’s one huge pitfall, as his replacement (chosen by him), Jeff Jaworski, hardly fits with the rest of the band. Jaworski’s style is more akin to that of Deftones frontman Chin Moreno, who, coincidentally, had a significant hand in the production of this album. Not to say that hero worship is warranted in many cases (how many upstart grind bands have tried to rewrite Scum?), but Jaworski’s angst-ridden delivery only rarely hits its mark, most notably on the riff-centric “Sammy Davis JR’s one Good Eye.”
Structurally, the songs abide by an approximately 5:1 breakdown to song ratio, consequently resulting in the album being a predominately slow to mid-paced affair, with thrashy segments such as those found in most of “Helena” thrown in for some occasional diversity. Chino and Co.’s production may be suitably heavy – with the bass at its usual strings-falling-off tuning and the guitar hitting just slightly above subwoofer range – but it’s the musical influence on his prodigies that may need toning down.