Will Haven’s sixth full-length album and first for minus HEAD Records, the aptly titled Muerte (Spanish for “death”), feels like the beginning for the Sacramento quartet—Grady Avenell [singer], Jeff Irwin [guitar], Adrien Contreras [bass], and Mitch Wheeler [drums]. However, the band’s origins can be traced back to 1995 when they first emerged as a staple in their hometown’s storied underground. For the past two decades-plus, they’ve existed on the fringe of extreme music championing an apocalyptic amalgam of metal, noise, hardcore, and alternative all their own. Along the way, they unleashed a string of seminal and influential albums kicked off by 1997’s El Diablo and WHVN two years later. Between tours with everyone from Slipknot to Deftones, Carpe Diem proved an influential milestone in 2001, while avowed fans and scene compatriots Chino Moreno and Far’s Shaun Lopez co-produced The Hierophant during 2007. Slipknot percussionist Chris Fehn assumed bass duties on the 2011 opus Voir Dire, which landed among Metal Hammer’s “Top 50 Albums of the Year.” Following the 2015 EP Open Mind to Discomfort, the boys secretly recorded at Pus Cavern Studios in Sacramento, CA with Joe Johnston engineering and co-producing alongside Jeff in 2017. They pieced together a corrosive, chaotic, and cohesive vision that never relents over its 11 tracks. It begins on the bruising first single “Hewed With The Brand” carries through the trudging psychedelic sludge of “No Escape” featuring YOB’s Mike Scheidt and culminates on the six minute-plus epic finale “El Sol” co-written by Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter.
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