Ithaca: meet metallic hardcore's next big noise

Thanks to Code Orange and Vein, metallic hardcore is hotter than ever in the heavy music underground. The subgenre’s recent success creates the perfect atmosphere for Ithaca and their impending first album, The Language Of Injury, to thrive. But what may surprise newcomers to the London five-piece is that they actually predate the extreme metalcore renaissance.

“When we started playing together, we couldn’t classify our music in a certain genre,” says lead singer Djamila Azzouz. “Because metallic hardcore wasn’t in resurgence back then, so we got away with playing with so many different bands of different genres.”

“We came up doing tours with bands like Employed to Serve and Venom Prison,” guitarist Sam Chetan-Welsh adds.

Ithaca formed in late 2012, before releasing EPs in 2014 and 2015. The Language Of Injury will be their first new material in three years, partially due to the band’s meticulous writing style.

“It takes a long time to write,” Sam admits. “It’s a laborious process and tends to be quite detailed. We were happy just letting the tracks come naturally, rather than going, ‘I have to write track nine on the album now!’”

However, the debut is worth the wait. Inspired by The Chariot and Rolo Tomassi, Ithaca’s songs pummel with whirring guitars and grooving rhythms, built atop a backbone of subtle melodies. Djamila and Sam trade roars, but the former – for the first time – also makes room for a cleaner, harmonic delivery.

“I lived in a little village and was very secluded,” explains the frontwoman. “It could get lonely, so I started singing a lot. It just snowballed from there.” “It’s another significant tool we add to the toolbox,” Sam summarises.

By flavouring their raging hardcore with dashes of beauty, Ithaca are ready to stand tall in their subgenre’s pantheon of greats. 

The Language of Injury is out now

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.