Review: Ithaca – The Language of Injury (Holy Roar, Feb 1)

The cover of The Language of Injury is composed of a bright pink knife encased in a jagged collage of blue-tinted photographs from various Ithaca live shows. That unusual dichotomy is a pretty accurate representation of the music itself as well; Ithaca’s slamming, bone-crushing rhythms are vicious and angular, but the songs also have a distinct beauty buried somewhere within them, still with an edge but one that’s much more refined. Opening one-two punch “New Covenant” and “Impulse Crush” begin the record with the biggest bang possible, mostly relying on intense, groove-based riffs with moments of unhinged energy and melodic tapping guitar fills. The burst-fire breakdown on “Impulse Crush” is one of the most impossibly heavy things I’ve ever heard (it’s that kind where you can’t help but laugh out loud at how awesome it is), but its intensity is somehow still more than matched on later tracks like the title cut and “Youth vs Wisdom.” Ithaca also handles the pacing of the album remarkably well; I don’t know if ‘exhausting’ is really the right word for the non-stop punishment that the first four tracks put you through, because that sounds way too negative, but by the time the gorgeous, calming interlude of “(No Translation)” shows up it’s more than welcome. From then on, more and more of that distant ethereality is injected into the music, from the soft guitar that opens “Clsr.” to the meditative intricacies of “Gilt” and the anthemic tremolo climax of “Better Abuse.” As of writing this review I’ve listened to The Language of Injury at least once a day since its release, and I definitely do not plan on altering that schedule. I can say with confidence that this is one of the best executed modern metallic hardcore records I have come across.

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