Sacramento’s Will Haven to make Harlow’s nightclub a sonic wasteland July 7

Photograph by Eric Ravera

By Eddie Jorgensen

It’s hard to believe it has been 28 years since the members of Will Haven handed me their first recording, a six-song demo filled with hallowed screams coming from singer Grady Avenell, as well as some of the fiercest, down-tuned metal to come out of the Sacramento Valley. It would only take another year for the band to nab a proper indie record deal in 1996 with Landspeed Records then release its debut self-titled EP.

‘VII’ is the title of Will Haven’s seventh full-length record and its second in minusHEAD Records. It will be released the same day as the band’s local release party. Fans who hear it will quickly know that Will Haven hasn’t got soft over the years: Songs like “5 Of Fire” and the standout track “Wings of Mariposa” prove that.  

“We began working on songs right before COVID hit, so we spent those years just messing around with ideas, riffs, and arrangements,” said guitarist and founder Jeff Irwin. “The creation of this record was a bit of a process, but it gave us an escape from everything else going on in the world. To this day, I am still trying to wrap my head around this record. It’s heavy, chaotic, mellow, beautiful, and dark. It’s more of an art piece than your normal standard songs, and that’s exactly what we wanted. I love hearing it in its entirety and am looking forward to performing all of the songs. It’s even more of a journey when you hear it live.”

Already a headliner overseas and darling of various online and print zines, Will Haven seems properly poised for a lengthy co-headlining U.S. tour; but, instead, it only has a handful of shows planned, which include a coveted spot at Alabama’s Furnace Fest. The extravaganza will include hardcore luminaries such as Zao, Training for Utopia, Terror and Extol. And while Will Haven has never played live as much as its fan-base might want, the rare upcoming all-ages show at Harlow’s in Sacramento will scratch that itch.

Abstract Entertainment presents this concert and tickets can be purchased in advance at Harlow’s website for $15. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Chrome Ghost and Kill the Precedent are the openers. Harlow’s is located at 2708 J Street in downtown Sacramento.

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