South Haven

Written by: PP on 26/04/2018 22:22:49

DTHRNR is a relatively new entrant to the Danish heavy music scene, having released a couple of singles back in 2015. Last year, they released their debut album "South Haven", an unusual album by a Danish metal band primarily because it achieves what most of their counterparts don't: a devastatingly heavy sound that goes far beyond the category of "heavy for the sake of being as heavy as possible". There's actual songwriting involved here instead of mere breakdowns or massacre of down-tuned guitars as is usually the case. The end result is a curious album that feels like an amalgamation of multiple genres into one: it's one part beatdown hardcore of the most brutal kind, and one part straight-up hardcore/metal, whilst also throwing in a number of elements from melodic hardcore and even hardcore punk.

Did I mention hardcore yet? As you can imagine, "South Haven" is a punishing album that certainly isn't for the faint of hearts. The band goes to great lengths in pummeling its listener with one chunky truck of a riff after another but calibrate the intensity levels carefully to achieve a more coherent sound to many other beatdown bands. Perhaps the many cameos by basically the who's who of Danish metal scene have had an influence (feat. members of Road To Manila, CABAL, Lifesick, and Ghost iris), but the creativity is certainly heavily on display in the vocal department. Here, the band explores pretty much the entirety of the range available in scream/growl from high-pitched screams to guttural growls, gang shouts and everything in between. The vocal variety on the record should not leave anyone cold.

Instrumentally, the band specializes in desolate grooves and a mastery of rhythm to create a truly miserable and misanthropic atmosphere. It's not as dark as the doom or black metal bands, but it certainly echoes the brooding desperation of pioneers like Shai Hulud or Zao in its sinister hopelessness. A fantastic production ensures all details flourish on the record, so you can freely enjoy the stomp-down-friendly beatdowns in a track like "Misery" as well as the hardcore punk undertones of "Above All". It's dense as fuck, intended to crush its listener under the heavy weight of the expression. That it does very well.

Additionally, the record carries an unusually experimental vibe to its song structures. It's simply not content with just being a beatdown record, hence it explores so many other sub-genres of hardcore in the process. Just compare the crushing "Sorry" with its successor "Reasons To Stay Alive pt. 1". Here, the hypnotic dirge of the guitars alongside the hip-hop styled growls create a curious mix that shouldn't really work, at least on paper, but in practice comes off well. The chorus segment "We're gonna die... I see no reason to survive. I'm so sorry this is not what I had in mind" is indeed the highlight of the record.

Keeping all that in mind, DTHRNR still has ways to go before they rise from the underground. But with the creativity on display here, alongside strong musicianship and crisp production values, it stands to reason they just need an album or two more before they start catching the attention of the scene at large.


Download: Reasons To Stay Alive pt. 1, Never Enough, Misery, Sorry
For the fans of: Knocked Loose, Desolated, Code Orange
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.09.2017

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