This is the second album from UK metallic hardcore band Ithaca.
Following on from 2019’s very enjoyable The Language of Injury, They Fear Us contains 35 minutes of new material from Ithaca.
There’s a greater diversity of material on this album than on their previous one. It’s more atmospheric and immersive, but without losing its punishing heaviness or serrated teeth. It’s more emotive and authentic, and it’s an album that speaks confidently of the skills and talents of its creators. It’s a more ambitious record in every regard, and I’m very pleased to say that the obvious hard work and love that the band have poured into it has paid off handsomely.
Ithaca have forged an album from an array of different influences. At the core of their sound sits the crushing metalcore that we would expect, but driven into this like spikes are multicoloured shards of pop, industrial, progressive, and post-metal. These influences are wielded like weapons by the band and used at various points to enhance their metallic hardcore in creative and inspired ways.
The songs combine metalcore influences from the 00s onward with more contemporary elements, making for a listening experience that’s very satisfying. Ithaca are clearly trying to move the style forward, while obviously not forgetting about the aspects of it that have allowed it to survive this long in the first place.
Aggressive and harsh, but not without subtlety or beauty, the album is a multifaceted and textured journey into modern heavy music. The band’s music has developed and evolved well since their debut album, and these new songs have a lot of strengths for the listener to enjoy and depths for them to explore. This is also true of the band’s singer. Her harsh screams sound better than ever; richer and fuller. She has also added centre-stage luscious clean singing to her arsenal, and her delivery is both emotive and potent.
The songs exude character and personality. Adorned with atypical melodies, enhanced with experimental and creative musical flourishes, and imbued with the right balance between technicality and mischievous playfulness, every song has its place and its own merits. The heavier aspects of the music, (which include colossal breakdowns and jagged riffs), are merged seamlessly with the more emotive and idiosyncratic elements, fused together by clever songwriting and passionate ideas.
It’s great to see how far Ithaca have come in just a few years. Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Language of Injury, They Fear Us is a step up in every department. Ithaca 2.0 is vital, versatile, and accomplished.
Very highly recommended.
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