EP review: Havelocke – Arsonist
The origins of Havelocke’s sound lie squarely in the mid-noughties emo boom. Blending the dramatic emo stylings of early My Chemical Romance with the post-hardcore edge of Underøath, the Sheffield natives wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. Lovers of said era will find much to enjoy on Arsonist, and while it’s a record unlikely to win over those who care not for the vampiric style of emo-punk Havelocke deal in, it is an EP that demonstrates the aptitude its creators have when it comes to executing their rather niche sound.
Vocalist Owen Cousins’ opening declaration that ‘There’s no way out’ on first song After Dark sets an ominous tone that’s carried throughout the entirety of Arsonist. It’s a fine introduction to Havelocke’s music, and one that combines the impassioned screams of Owen with some chunky metallic riffs and a large helping of drama. The My Chem-esque Vampire Eyes is a similarly over-the-top affair, but the best of the bunch here is closing track When We Go, which recalls They’re Only Chasing Safety-era Underøath. The chorus stands out for truly serving the song as a whole and not overdoing the gothic facet of Havelocke’s sound, while Owen gives a performance that recalls the zealous and heartfelt vocal style of greats like Aaron Gillespie or even Davey Havok.
Occasionally, Arsonist feels a little too derivative – 100 Seconds, for example, sounds like it could’ve been pulled from any number of emo/post-hardcore records released 15 years ago – but by and large, Havelocke strike a solid balance between influence and individual flair. It won’t be for everyone, but those with a penchant for the dramatic will get a kick out of Havelocke’s emotional fire.
For Fans Of: My Chemical Romance, Underøath, AFI
Arsonist is released on April 13 via Silent Cult.
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