Review Summary: Will Haven mature their bleak sonic landscapes by adding more complexity without the sacrifice of their harsh sound.Carpe Diem
sees Will Haven combine and refine what they laid down on El Diablo
and experimented with on WHVN
. El Diablo
whilst a brilliant furious barrage lacked a certain amount of depth. WHVN
. WHVN kicked some ideas around, but ultimately came across as a collection of B-sides. Carpe Diem
is the melding and correction of these rights and wrongs. Carpe Diem
melts your face off and then welds your jaw back together. If El Diablo
was The Evil Dead
, then Carpe Diem
is The Shining
eases off with a chiming opener reminiscent of Mogwai, at a stage when Mogwai were not a household name and [i]Young Team[i] had barely seen release. This is a statement of intent. The winding of the clockwork orange bomb. Unlike El Diablo
you see the fist before it hits you.
‘Saga’ is the most dynamically complex song on the album and sets a tall precedent. Fortunately the rest of the album is constructed carefully to prevent monotony and importantly to keep you from being too comfortable. Where ‘Bats’ has a significant coda other songs end abruptly before sending the next slab of molten lava towards you. Gladly this is all intentional drawing you in, and achieving the delicate victory of a balanced experience. The pacing could have perhaps have been a little more polished mostly due to that some of transitions could have been a little smoother. For example the levels between ‘Finest Our’ to ‘Alpha Male’ could have matched closer and would have increased the seamless quality of the recording.
On Carpe Diem
Will Haven introduce incidental music to enhance mood and serve as book ends, akin to the way a film incorporates music to make the scary material safer and yet at the same time to make the scary material scarier. Carpe Diem
shares many qualities of a Stanley Kubrick film but without the slow long build up and release, for at the end Will Haven do not drop the atomic bomb but the grand piano.
The core musical toolkit has not changed from previous outings. The scraping vocals and dense guitar work are all evident but it is dynamically that things are different. The drumming is freer and is used as part of the soundscape rather than being the vehicle onto which the other instruments sit. The vocals now act like signals for the sonic changes, making the listener pay attention and heed the guide showing them through this bare metallic desert. The harshness of the production is turned down from eleven to eight from the raw power of El Diablo
but this only accentuates the band’s new found dynamic power.
Sadly the marginally misaligned transitions and a couple of non-memorable songs stop this from being a classic. However on album number three Will Haven progressed, learning from their successes and their failures whilst showing the willingness to experiment and move forward. Seize the day and do not make the mistake of ignoring this uncut gem which was far ahead of its time then as it even is now.