Holy Roar Records has been a home for dozens of amazing bands and artists and this new release right here brings even more of their trademark dynamic between hardcore and metal aesthetics. “The Language Of Injury” by chaotic, mathcore infused act ITHACA sees the band balance between the two throughout the record and creates a singular exhilarating, emotional experience.
This London-based quintet (who are out to “beseech people from the varying scale of gender, different ethnic backgrounds and varying sexualities”) brings a breath of fresh air to the hardcore scene with their updated take on early 2000s metalcore — as heard on The Language of Injury, which bursts with infectious melodies and Azzouz’s stunning mix of visceral screams and ethereal vocals.
“There are a couple of songs on the album specifically that are very emotionally raw,” she said, speaking to Revolver for the Dec/Jan 2019 magazine. “I feel that there is a … catharsis about it, but every time we go back and play the songs, I am very much revisiting that [period]. I’m putting myself back in that position that I was in at the time, and revisiting that pain.” / Revolver Magazine
‘The Language Of Injury’ aptly embodies everything those in the know have come to love from UK Metallic Hardcore group Ithaca and serves them wonderfully as a statement of intent. Coming out the gates with haunting vocal melodies and chord progression dramatics, before discordance worthy of instilling fear into the most composed individual devastate the listener.
The most striking and noticeable difference in Ithaca’s sound, from previous releases and their contemporaries, lies in their confidence and newfound identity. Channeling Oathbreaker at their most expansive coupled with vicious Metallic passages owing to Ferret Records heyday bands such as Martyr A.D.
In an age of oversaturation within the genre, Ithaca are sure to be a new guiding light. With a deft nod to their influences whilst resolutely modernising their sound and expanding what can be done when you hone your craft, it’s perhaps time we learned their language. / Holy Roar Records
The result is crushing: grooves and shrieking guitar squalls giving way to haunting melodic passages and desolate reprieves. Visceral from the opening of ‘New Covenant’ through the album’s 32 minutes right to the end of ‘Better Abuse’. It’s threatening and pounding metallic hardcore through and through.
Sometimes with hardcore the pummelling riffs and thunderous drumming doesn’t always translate into something exciting. It can be rammed with aggression but lack that certain quality to really connect with the listener and get you moving. Ithaca avoid all those pitfalls and create a wonderfully captivating and thrilling album. It’s akin to that moment you first heard Poison The Well and realised just how good hardcore can be. / AltDialogue.com
Elements of posthardcore and postmetal have been added to the mix at points throughout this album, like second track, Impulse Crush. This gives additional emotional weight to the songs, making them feel a lot bleaker and desolate rather than just anguished. This also helps counter the phrase often used by musicians: “repetition legitimises”. Usually used to communicate that a mistake can be made to sound intentional if repeated often enough, in mathcore it can be a negative, the discordant guitar lines can begin to sound mundane if used too often. On Impulse Crush, as the song hangs on a jagged riff towards the end of the track, Ithaca add another layer of guitar over this riff to bring a new element to keep the listener engaged. / MidlandsMetalheads.com
In Short The Language Of Injury sees Holy Roar continue their exceptional trend of leading the way within heavy music. ITHACA have managed to capture raw emotion in a stomping metallic hardcore record that will surely be high on most people’s album of the year lists. / VultuHounds.co.uk
Consider the above aphorism, bestowed upon us by Ithaca’s lead vocalist Djamila Azzouz in the closing peals of “Impulse Crush,” a thesis of sorts for The Language of Injury, the hardcore upstarts’ bruising, beguiling debut LP. Yes, the London band makes overture after sweeping romantic overture throughout these ten tracks, crossing-up mosh-ready fare with melancholic ambient passages, weeping guitars, and virtuosic vocal harmonies; their lyrics predominantly center around uplifting themes of love, acceptance, and resilience. Only by diving deep into the The Language of Injury, with all its overhanging dread and violent twists and turns, do we discover the true praxis driving Ithaca’s bleeding-heart aesthetic: a commitment to radical emotional honesty and self-sufficiency, rather than the misguided, if well-intentioned, “radical softness” du jour.
Which brings us to the five-piece’s main conceit on this LP: offering blissful, shoegaze-y respite from the din — that sweet, familiar swoon, again and again — only to drop us back into hell a few agonizing moments later. Though Ithaca reprise this pattern several times over the course of the record, their game-plan rarely scans as predictable, thanks to the winding, amorphous arrangements in which they’re situated; “CLSR” and “Slow Negative Order” channel blackened, proggy post-metal à la Deafheaven and the Ocean, and grunge rears its heavy-leaded head on phenomenal closer “Glint.” The end result is a gorgeous, gargantuan record that flips hardcore sentimentalism on its head — not for the sake of novelty, but of necessity. / Zoe Camp, Bandcamp Daily