Havenside – Living Our Darkest Days (2014)


Havenside is a five-piece hardcore/metalcore band that formed in California in 2006. The band has released three albums to date – Living Our Darkest Days being the fourth, but the first through Innerstrength Records.

“Indisputable” opens the album with a riff that slowly fades in and sounds like Slipknot. The vocals are strong and brought to mind Jonny OC’s (Liferuiner) old style, but the opening track doesn’t have much else to offer. It’s aggressive and full of chugging and breakdowns, though, so it may be a fun song in a live setting. Living Our Darkest Days takes a slight turn for the better on the second track, titled “The Broken,” which shows a slightly different side of the band. The instrumentals have more substance and there is a bit more of a melodic edge; furthermore, the guitar tone and style reminded me of The Ghost Inside’s Fury and the Fallen Ones.

The next few tracks follow a similar blueprint, but “Things Will Never Change” does see the band incorporate some backing clean vocals during the chorus. They’re not overused on this track, they sound decent and they fit very well. “Standing Your Ground Pt. 2” starts off very promising with a nice – albeit very simple – lead and earth-shattering chugs, but the band quickly reverts to its familiar sound. The guitar lead/heavy chug combo makes a return near the end of the track; however, it alone is not enough to save the song from mediocrity.

At this point, I am halfway through the album and I’m still not sure what to think about it. All of the songs sound decent or good, but most of them are missing something to make them remotely memorable. Thankfully, the album picks up a little steam and has more interesting parts in the second half. “King By Destruction” is the second song to feature cleans – and they’re just as effective as before. “Composure” and “Refuse to Sink” are two of the more impressive tracks on Living Our Darkest Days, but they’re both still held back by excessive chugging at times; despite that, “Refuse to Sink” is definitely my personal favourite. There’s some cool guitar work near the middle of the final track and the cleans make another return, sounding even better than before.

While Living Our Darkest Days is a fun album to listen to, it lacks any “wow” factors. The harsh vocals are solid throughout its 39-minute playtime, but there is little variety. Similarly, the guitar parts aren’t anything to write home about. On the bright side, the drumming is stellar from start to finish. I feel that this would be a great workout album (or an album you listen to when you’re doing something that requires most of your attention), though I wouldn’t recommend listening to this album on repeat when you’re just sitting around doing nothing.