Despite being formed around the same time as the Deftones and in the same city (and being friend with them), Will Haven has never chased the same success. Melodic vocals would have sounded out of place on their massively sludgy riffs and they never showed any intentions to tone down their metal with any outside influence. In fact, you can be forgiven if you think that Will Haven have not changed since their beginning. Although it is not true and all the band’s albums are different, they always stayed true to their style.
Open the mind to discomfort breaks a silence of four years for the band where they haven’t toured much or posted any facebook post to reassure their fans that there will active. Will Haven doesn’t play by the rules by ignoring them and just doing things whenever they feel like it. The result is an EP made of five songs and four interludes (a first for a band that previously never indulged in those kind of transitions) where huge slab of molten sludge can be found on every non-transitional track with the usual screams from frontman Grady Avenell. If Chino Moreno is still a suave motherfucker, Avenell still screams like a poet possessed by his own demons.
However, Will Haven is not only about the screams and the heavy riffs it’s also a band followed by ghostly backbone of bass and guitar that makes them sound like no one else but them. Will Haven‘s ability to mix heaviness with with zen like waves of sound has always put them in their own corner. On Open the mind they have added an extra layer of echo to every instruments, underlining even more the funeral atmosphere of their song. At the same time, Open the mind features some of the most aggressive and back to basic hardcore drumming recalling some of the immediacy of WHVN instead of the many stop start rhythm of Carpe diem. The contrast between the too gives the band an edge their latest album, Voir dire, lacked, while offering some of the band’s most solid songs this side of Carpe diem or Fresno.
This year, Will Haven celebrates its twentieth anniversary but they sound as vital and original as ever. Maybe it’s because there was never any money to make playing this style of music. Maybe it’s also because the individuals that make up Will Haven are unique enough to make their craft harder to replicate. Or, it might also be just because they rule. Whatever the reason, Open the mind to discomfort proves that Will Haven are still the best at what they do and nothing will change that.