Ithaca - They Fear Us
9Overall Score
Ithaca - They Fear Us9

Ithaca, They Fear Us
Hassle Records

Bow before your blood – the reign of Ithaca is upon us. In a blaze of fury, Ithaca are burning hardcore to the ground and building an empire from the wreckage. Fine-tuning and emboldening the embittered howl of their 2019 debut, They Fear Us is a patchwork of gloriously heavy textures; with a snarl of punk attitude, hardcore soundscapes and ethereal blackgaze inflections, Ithaca have crafted a sound that will stop you dead in your tracks.

They Fear Us is ruled by a sense of brutality. Opener In The Way immediately sets the tone, Djamila Boden Azzouz’s performance bruising, sharp-tongued and venomous as she promises to “wash your blood down the sink, cuz we don’t take souvenirs.” Tracks like The Future Says and stand-out Cremation Party are ruled by this venom-tinged attitude, while vicious instrumentals twist the knife that bit further – heavy soundscapes riling as Azzouz dances in the ashes of those she will burn to the ground.

The warpath of Ithaca holds no prisoners – listeners aren’t even safe in the tracklisting, with the blackgaze-y rumble of track Number 5 coming in as track number 6. Anything to antagonise! However, Number Five serves as a glorious example of how diverse this release truly is; Ithaca’s strongest quality is undoubtedly their ability to flicker between different sounds. Camera Eats First highlight this perfectly, showcasing blistering hardcore alongside ethereally light vocals and mystical soundscapes, while You Should Have Gone Back knocks out a shockingly stadium-rock worthy guitar solo.

While Azzouz’s battle-cries are defiant and gut-wrenching, They Fear Us allows the full extent of her abilities to shine. While title-track They Fear Us asserts her god-like dominance, sharpening her fangs on guttural howls, tracks like Fluorescent absolutely glow with vulnerability. In these quieter moments, Azzouz truly becomes an enchantress, air-light vocals enticingly luring you in before she snaps back into a flurry of anger. At times, the quality is quite Rolo Tomassi in nature, transitioning between glittering vulnerability and gut-wrenching rage with ease and precision. However, Azzouz’s voice goes one step further; Hold, Be Held hints at truly soulful abilities from the frontwoman. The performance is stunning to say the least.

Terrifyingly astounding, They Fear Us is a masterclass in evolution. More refined, enraged and cutting than their debut, this is a truly magnificent sophomore release that cannot be missed out on. We don’t know about you… but we are more than happy to bow down before the throne of Ithaca.

They Fear Us is out now.