For as much criticism is given to newer bands about pulling heavily from set-in-stone influences, the truth is that everyone needs to start somewhere. Bands will develop their skill set before building on them, primarily from emulating the artists around them, before putting their own spin on a sound that will allow them to ultimately progress.
And yet with a band like Greyhaven, you end up asking yourself how much that mindset is worth putting stock into. Ignoring the fact that this band has been around since 2015 and don’t seem to have evolved much since, Breathe is the sort of painfully dated alt-metal that has “perennial support band” written all over, and even then, that’s at a push. But perhaps the most disheartening thing is how stagnant this all is, avoiding any of the better features of modern alt-rock or metal for cold, colourless homogeneity and standardised Britrock songcraft that would’ve felt outdated in 2012.
It’s not even as if Greyhaven don’t have some potential either; there are some decent melodic instincts that have gone into the title track that aren’t entirely swamped out in superfluous polish and “anthemic” effects. And yet whenever another similar instance tries to surface, Greyhaven always end up kneecapping themselves with the sort of totally blasé, par-boiled tropes that alt-rock at the turn of the decade was awash with. Just look at the attempts at being heavier on Crows or solemn and introspective on When We Divide, moments that push an entry tier approximation of the desired effect that’s been done better countless times before.
The truth is, though, it’s tough to hate Greyhaven, mainly because it’s tough to really feel anything towards them. This is yet another copy of a copy of every band slogging through the toilet circuit and local festival scene, and yet, at least today, you’d find a few gems among them that would offer more in the way of excitement than this. Give Breathe a listen and you won’t remember it within a day; this is as cookiecutter as it gets.
For fans of: Fei Comodo, Mallory Knox, As Lions
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Breathe’ by Greyhaven is released on 12th January on Outsider Records.