There are certain bands that you observe over the years, steadily growing and tightening up their sound. Most of the time, they ending up radically changing something within their sound that rarely sits well with devoted fans. In rare cases, such as Havenside, they keep it true from day one, only getting better and better with each release. Nemesis is one of the most perfect views into the true-to-the-street hardcore sound like Hoods or Terror.
With in-your-face, no bullshit lyrics of unbridled fury, album opener “Counterfit” is a breakdown-laden track that’s full of raw emotion. Brandon Wells’ gritty and powerful vocals are much better than they were back in the Lost & Departed EP days, churning out line after line of memorable lyrics. “I want nothing from you / You’re nothing to me” and “This word’s for you / die x3” aren’t easy to forget. Some people love to hide behind metaphors, but Havenside doesn’t do that pretentious crap.
All of the tracks on Nemesis have an energy of their own, like “Agony.” The beginning is a brutal breakdown that is followed by a metalcore type of bridge, but more leaning towards the –core influence. While most of this song is made up of breakdowns, you will grow to appreciate the music. All of a sudden, there’s a surprise guitar solo that is metal in every aspect, especially the tone. “Vengeance” is a track that sounds like it was left off of the Recognition sessions. It’s slightly heavier than the rest of the album, providing a full song that is based off of the bassist’s groove and the drummer while the rest seem to play along with it.
Going more in the style of Hatebreed (but still their own), “Resilient” packs more punch than most of the album. Starting out with a thundering drum line until Wells comes in -along with guitarists Nik Carnage and Casey Mann – to bring listeners true hardcore music. Short and sweet, it moves on to the next track “Changes,” which is a more modern hardcore track. The breakdowns are a bit on the basic side, but it’s also heavier and the music sounds much cleaner.
Ever since day one, Havenside have stuck to a specific sound that helps define the underground old school hardcore scene, as opposed to being in the trend and embracing post-hardcore or deathcore influences. Here’s to hoping that they never take that road and continue keeping it real.