Haven


Cease To Be

Haven - Cease To Be ©1999 Self-Released
1. Cease To Be
2. Until That Last Day
3. Forget...forgive
4. I20

Haven strikes me as a band that theoretically should have formed around 1994 or so, considering their list of influences: Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. I do recall about five or six years ago every bleeding band that formed (usually in a college to fill up the time that wasn't already consumed by drinking or nursing a hangover during class) was a clone of those Washington state luminaries, though ninety-nine percent of them were hardly able to do justice to their supposed influences. But today it is very uncool to list a single "grunge" band as an influence so thus it stands that Haven is doing this particular style because - get this - they truly and honestly enjoy it. And guess what else? They do a bang-up job of it. The key, of course, is something I harp about constantly in these pages. Haven knows how to write a good song and moreover, they play with enthusiasm. I've witnessed a bevy of bands who play half-heartedly and I can attest Haven is not one of these bands.

Though the influences are there, no single entity overpowers the Haven sound. Singer Patrick Best is roughly within the Eddie Veddar parameters, which is the only obvious sighting of their favorite bands. Guitarwise, these guys write some smart two guitar patterns that have a lot of depth and intelligence. "Until That Last Day" is an example of how they use a good lead to really push the song up an echelon or two. The EP closes with my personal favorite, "i20". This particular song is easily the catchiest and has a killer groove throughout. Haven has shown that they have the goods to be a noteworthy band. Hopefully as they put out music in the future they will continue working their talent for strong songwriting and energetic playing.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1999

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Something Better

Haven - Something Better ©2002 Self-Released
1. Stained Glass Saint
2. Push Over
3. Wearing Thin
4. Softly Spoken
5. Flowerman
6. Dog Days
7. Waste Of Time
8. Low Life
9. Feel
10. So Gone
11. Reflections

After their well-received 1999 demo, grunge/rock band Haven released their first full-length album this year, entitled Something Better. The music can be briefly described as a blend of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Tool ("Feel"), and the little-known Shrapnel act Haji's Kitchen. The singer uses somewhat unusual intervals and vaguely dissonant harmonies, which keeps the melodies interesting; the songs are generally mid-tempo; and the guitars are distorted and occasionally wah-wahed. The songwriting, while derivative, is solid and enjoyable and would almost certainly appeal to fans of early-to-mid-1990s Seattle rock.

My main gripe with this record, however, is that the delivery is simply not up to the standards of even Alice In Chains' first album, which was no display of musicianship. Put simply, the singer and the lead guitarist's pitch is off more often than not, betraying a lack of experience and/or training (and, admittedly, a commendable absence of studio trickery) and making this album an unbearable listen to anyone with trained ears.

This album is entitled Something Better. Better than what, I do not know, as this is my first exposure to the band's music, but regardless of the quality of the material, there's still a lot of room for improvement on the delivery.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2002

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