Ithaca – Trespassers
Genre: Chaotic Hardcore/Hardcore
Label: COF Records / Soaked In Torment Records
If you’re new to this London lot like I was, let me share some basics: Ithaca are a five-piece that are pissed, mixing hardcore with chaos and emotive influence. Imagine a mash of Throats and Botch, with a bits of Curl Up And Die and Loma Prieta, and you’re pretty close – so to fans of the genres that those bands are associated with, Ithaca will seem familiar but fresh. This is their second EP to date and is made up of four short, sharp tracks.
The first track and shortest track, Otherwordly, kicks inright away and sort of has that early Architects sound, the drums and guitars race forward while raspy screams lead the way. There’s a good bit of overlapping melody from one of the guitars but that changes towards the end when both tap discordant licks in turns. It’s a pretty grabbing first impression.
Next is Lifelost, which just blasts in with jarring and off-tempo guitars that synch with the drums incredibly well, soon giving way to a breakdown of harmonics and chugs – on paper, this might sound like something that was done to death by metalcore in the 00’s, but it’s nothing like that, it owes more to a tech metal influence. The track also dips in and out of emotional hardcore phrases too; thanks to the strain on the vocals and overall morose sound (especially during a certain ‘clean’ section), something fans of Cloud Rat or Loma Prieta will definitely enjoy.
Wither & Wane slows the pace down for the most part, almost to a sludge level, concentrating more on a crushing atmosphere than outright fury. Like the previous tracks, you get the technical breakdowns and constantly shifting riffs, but this is broken up more often by softer, cleaner parts with background yells; and the transitions between the styles are smooth.
The end of Wither & Wane flows continuously into the last track Trespassers, keeping up the dissonant vibes. The vocals are underlayed – again, Cloud Rat fans should dig this – and keeps up this approach up to the one-minute mark before the distortion kicks in and the whole band pulls you into an entrancing groove, especially with the thick mood of it all. Closing out the EP, there’s a unison of half-time breakdown with a real playful bluesy feel… but while your senses are being attacked instead of soothed.
Overall, this is a great EP. “Trespassers” is something that’s long overdue in the UK hardcore scene, mixing up influences to create something with its own fingerprint. Granted, the influences are really obvious and Ithaca do indulge in them often, but there is a personal touch here and it shows that they have potential to create something even more punishing and rabid for future releases. If you like your hardcore both visceral and thought-out, give it a listen.
Favourite tracks: Otherworldly, Lifelost, Trespassers.