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Ithaca’s They Fear Us: metallic hardcore firebrands stake their claim to greatness with stellar second album

Album review: Ithaca’s new album They Fire us is a raging, ever-changing triumph

Ithaca: They Fear Us album cover
(Image: © Hassle)

When metallic post-hardcore upstarts Ithaca released The Language Of Injury in 2019, nobody quite expected the London mob to explode in the way they did. A critically acclaimed album that led to some high-profile festival appearances and shows supporting the likes of Anaal Nathrakh and Bleeding Through, the band’s growing stature means anticipation has been high for a follow-up. Has the pressure of delivering a second album caused Ithaca to crack? Has it bollocks.

‘It’s not a job, it’s a service, and I get paid in satisfaction’ screams vocalist Djamila Azzouz on opening track In The Way, a chugging riff behind her as the song thunders into The Future Says Thank You, where the combination of screamed and clean vocals will rip a hole straight through the senses, but then stitch them up as it goes. The title track has been around for a while now, given its position as lead single, but ‘BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD!’ is still a mosh call for the ages and will undoubtedly incite pits live.

The most wonderful thing about They Fear Us, though, is the song structures throughout. Going from a chaotic barrage of drums, riffs and screams into something with expanse and beauty is difficult enough, but Ithaca have done it with such expertise that the album flows sensationally, and nothing seems out of place. Just listen to You Should Have Gone Back: the first half is prog-metal brilliance, a great change of pace given what’s come before, but halfway in it explodes into post-hardcore nirvana and it all makes sense. Closing track Hold, Be Held is the icing on a particularly delicious cake – an ethereal number that brings you back down gently, but ready to immediately press play again. What a triumph this record is. Absolutely essential listening.