Will Haven are integral to a bunch of today’s best heavy bands. Emerging in the late 90’s/early 00’s metalcore golden age along with the likes of Botch and Converge, Will Haven hit the scene with their own brand of layered, maladjusted crunch. This is a sound new metal/hardcore bands are taking que from and whilst there have been some quiet years in their legacy, Will Haven are back with new record Muerte to show the new kids how it’s done. We were lucky enough to chat with guitarist Jeff Irwin about the record, the scene they came from and what the future holds.
“I’ve finally been able to figure out ‘okay, this is how you do this.’ “
‘We didn’t have to try really hard. It just kind of happened,’ Irwin says of the creative process of Muerte. ‘I think we’re just better as musicians. Our old records, El Diablo and stuff, we were basically learning how to play our instruments. This was the first band I played guitar in! Now I’ve been playing for 25 years now I’ve finally been able to figure out ‘okay, this is how you do this.’ We definitely feel like a brand-new band which is really cool.’
Although Irwin feels like Will Haven are reborn now, things were quite the opposite when it came to the beginning of Muerte’s creation. Muerte is Spanish for ‘death’, a term Irwin thought was going to be appropriate for Will Haven. ‘When we initially started writing the record, we figured this could be our last record we do together, just because Will Haven has been pretty stagnant the last few years. We put out the EP, but we didn’t really do much with it, we haven’t played a show in three years, we have a cult following, but no one was really clambering for any new music or anything.’ As resigned as these details are, there’s something refreshing about Irwin’s honesty. Most of the time bands insist they’re better than ever, even if that’s not the case.
“‘I just wanna make a record that smashes you in the face and chills you out at the same time.”
Irwin has a chilled-out ‘whatever happens, happens’ stance on Will Haven’s future. ‘We’re just taking it day by day. It all depends on the reaction and if people are really interested in the band again and they wanna hear new music from us, we’ll defiantly do another one. We’re just walking that tightrope right now and seeing what happens.’
At the time of writing this, Muerte isn’t quite out yet and whether fans will go nuts for it, enabling a secure following chapter for Will Haven, is yet to be seen. However, we at Discovered who’ve heard it, have a good feeling that there’s going to be a lot for people to love here, whether a long-time fan or newcomer. Much like with Will Haven’s classic records, Murete is an onslaught of concrete heavy riffs, set to lose, but firm grooves which will satisfy headbangers over and over. There’s a great overarching haze to Will Haven’s sound too for the more zoned-out times. ‘I just wanna make a record that smashes you in the face and chills you out at the same time. What we write is basically life. Life is chaotic, it’s crazy, it’s heavy and then you have some soothing, mellow parts in life too.’
Regardless of whether it’s going to be make-or-break for Will Haven, they will always have the honour of being one of the most notable bands from arguably the greatest time for their style of music. ‘It was amazing. It was like being in a candy store. Any kind of music you liked, there were tons of bands doing it, but they were doing it their own style.’ Irwin has to say of the scene they came from. ‘It was a hardcore scene, but Earth Crisis was doing their own thing, Snapcase was doing their own thing, Strife was doing their own thing, Will Haven were doing their own thing.
” We’ll see, with our record coming out and Code Orange, that’ll maybe spark some new inspiration and new genres.”
As for today’s scene, Irwin admits he’s ‘not exactly stoked on it’ because of a lack of diversity and different cultures. ‘There was this huge wave then and now it’s crashed and it’s just white water and everyone’s disorientated and not sure what to do. It’s funny, I think everyone took some ideas from back then, but now everybody’s doing the same exact thing. It’s as if everyone took Vision Of Disorder’s ideas and influence did and put it to Djent music (laughs). All that stuff funnelled down to one sound now instead of everyone doing their own thing.’
Despite metal/hardcore being narrowed down in Irwin’s eyes, he sees hope. ‘But then, you have a band like Code Orange where they take influences from back in the 90’s, then try do something new with it. We’ll see, with our record coming out and Code Orange, that’ll maybe spark some new inspiration and new genres’ Irwin optimistically ponders. We’re definitely not about to rule-out this already game-changing band shaking things up once again.
WORDS: MAX CUSSON
MUERTE IS OUT NOW VIA MINUS HEAD RECORDS