CD Review-Will Haven-Voir Dire

Will Haven is:

Mitch Wheeler – Drums

Chris Fehn-Bass

Jeff Irwin-Guitars

Grady Avenell-Vocals

Bieler Bros Records

History-This is the 5th release for this very aggressive metal outfit from Sacramento, California. If you are familiar with Soulfly, Grady sang on Pain (from Primitive) with Max and Chino from the Deftones.

Review-My first and obvious question, when did Grady come back in the band? And why wasn’t this major news anywhere? The last I heard from Will Haven was that Jeff Jaworski who did vocals and Mike Martin who played bass quit, and the future was uncertain. As big as a Will Haven fan I am, I have to admit, I despise Carpe Diem (the last release with Grady) and The Hierophant, the first with Jeff on vocals. You listen to El Diablo and most of WHVN, and they are so aggressive and passionate, you can hear a band that is hungry. A vocal delivery that makes you feel his emotion, and passion. Guitars that just fucking crunch, and a drum, and bass one two punch, that sounds like someone is trying to be heard. Will Haven is the soundtrack to a riot. Their music is just not stand still and listen music, this is violent passion that you want to scream and get into Grady’s world. Songs like Stick up Kid, I’ve seen my fate off El Diablo, Fresno off of WHVN, are just massive, in their approach and feel. With Carpe, Grady got commercial friendly. I blame part of this change on WHVN, esp., the remix of I’ve seen my fate. Where 50 percent of that cd was just what we expect from Grady and the boys, the other 50, sounded like a studio exec whispering in their ear to be more radio friendly. The Jeff led Will Haven, I went out and bought, and I will say, if this band was named anything else, I would have been more open to it. That was not Will Haven. It sounded like a imitation, a bad local band trying to be their heroes and failing.
Now with Voir Dire, I think Grady knew what the fans would expect and he delivers. When the walls close in, is classic Will Haven with a twist. Where Grady in the past has let his vocals drown with a loud guitar sound, this time his vocals take stage. Where you think, he was thinking to himself. Let us start with this calm, and then hit them with the storm. And it works. Held to answer is this little spacey atmospheric intro that fans of the band, who know the past, will think…” Grady is going to be holding back like he did on Carpe”. And, then he just comes out blasting and screaming like he re-found his passion. Then, he goes into Urban Apoge with the same passion and fury. The Siege sounds like the Carpe Diem stuff, it is a little slower, but for this cd and what it offers, this song was not as bad as it would have been, if the whole cd was less aggressive. It is a good counter balance. A beautiful death again, they seem to tone it down some, and then during the song, they build and build. Object of my affection and Milda’s secret seems to be aiming to get new fans into Will Haven. This cd is such a return to form, while trying a few new tricks. At moments it did have the Carpe slowness that fans like me, were so angry about. As a whole, this is another great comeback cd. And I will say this, When the Walls Close in, is among the best Will Haven songs ever. It is to me 2012’s Fresno. If you are a Will Haven fan, you already own this and know how good it is. If you are new to Will Haven, or you like aggressive music like old school Deftones, you will dig this.

8.5 out of 10