London-based mathcore lunatics Ithaca have returned for their long-awaited second EP Trespassers. If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s work then imagine The Bled and Botch got moshier and you’re pretty much there. This is a testing collection of songs that are screamed with utter fury and conviction.
The record begins with Otherworldly which essentially encapsulates everything the band are about in one song. Vocalist Djamila has a frightening howl that cuts through the chaos that ensues. The band plays a very beatdown-centric type of mathcore that’s big on off kilter guitar madness without straying too far from a weighty breakdown. While the breakdowns do have a tendency to take away from the melody, they never outstay their welcome and they’re often sitting next to a chorus drenched in a thick, foreboding atmosphere. This is not a happy sounding band.
The band are definitely better when they temper their mosh-urges with sections stuffed with melody. Lifelost is a considerably better song when a big, memorable riff cuts through the beatdowns. Sadly there’s some pretty atonal guitar leads piercing the noise as well and it does become a bit harsh on the ears after a while. Thankfully there’s also a beautiful, delicate moment of respite that makes the return of the band’s heaviness feel all that more impactful.
Speaking of impact, that Mastodon-esque groove at the start of Wither & Wane is certainly something to behold. It’s moments like these that showcase exactly how fantastic the group of musicians in Ithaca can really be. The title track manages to prove this the best and earns its right as the title track in the process. Trespassers is a real journey of a song that’s full of heart-on-sleeve emotion. This is an electrifying performance that shows how gripping Ithaca can be when all their elements click into place.
Ithaca’s Trespassers is a dark, crushing affair complete with technical guitar passages, devastating beatdowns and horrific, lung-tearing atmosphere courtesy of Djamila’s haunting vocal performance. The breakdowns and atonal guitar leads do detract from an otherwise impressive selection of mathcore songs but generally Ithaca manage to hit more than they miss and Trespassers has a lot to offer for fans of mathcore.