Over-saturation is rife within metallic hardcore, with most releases imitating the forebearers of the genre. South London’s Ithaca intend to change the current trend, and, after two incendiary extended plays, debut full-length ‘The Language Of Injury’ does just that.
Taking influence from acts such as Converge and Martyr A.D. and moulding them into something that is their own, the quintet have created a chaotic and beautiful album.
Opening track ‘New Covenant’ displays the group’s relentless vision. Twisting feedback fights against the snapping snares of James Lewis before unleashing a barrage of percussive guitars courtesy of Sam Chetan-Welsh and Will Sweet. Amongst the battling guitars are fevered howls that command its audience; gruff and feral, the vocal performance of Djamila Azzouz is refreshingly hungry and raw.
Playing with structure, off kilter breaks are introduced, allowing tremolo picking to fight against finger-picked melodies. Whilst multiple techniques are displayed and sections are introduced and dismissed at a rapid pace, the strong rhythm section of drummer keeps a solid foundation throughout.
The group’s use of dynamics is impressive across the record, in a sub-genre that can be limited with its options, the constant movement and raw passion keeps each track fresh and unrelenting. The likes of ‘Youth Vs. Wisdom’ showcases innovative approaches to percussive chords and a furious display of energy.
A broad range of influences are felt with ‘Slow Negative Order’, seeing the group veering into some black metal territory, whilst ‘(No Translation)’ favours ambient textures and restrained clean finger=picking to bring a sense of melancholy to the record’s mid-way point.
Amidst the crushing guitars and pummeling drums are layers of harmony and melody. ‘Gilt’ weaves in between harsh walls of sound and tender and sparse soundscapes with ease. With the perfect combination of the two techniques, the album definitely doesn’t lose its traction.
As the piece draws to a close, ‘Better Abuse’ takes all of the elements shown throughout and creates a jarring and climatic finale to a (to put it mildly) blistering record. Dissonance and harmony drive the track through claustrophobic passages before soft melodies dominate the bridge. Eventually, building tension boils over and engulfs you in a wave of ruthless aggression and uncompromising passion.
From start-to-finish, ‘The Language Of Injury’ provides an unflinching and unique twist to a genre that desperately needs it. With the impressive results garnered from a debut full-length, it’s intriguing and exciting to see how the monster of Ithaca will evolve.