REVIEW: Sending Lights – Haven [EP/2014]


Artist: Sending Lights

Album: Haven – EP


We all need a place we can retreat to when the world becomes too much to bear. When the weight of the world becomes too much to bear, and our shoulders bough beneath the tireless, ceaseless stress of repetitiously going about the menial tasks that comprise our day, we need a respite—a way to break the monotony. We need a Haven—which is just what German melodic hardcore outfit Sending Lights offer the listener. Creating a warm, intrinsically heartfelt atmosphere driven by intense and ribcage-thumping instrumentation and passionate, emotional vocals, Haven envelops the listener in pure musical warmth and gives them an all-too-brief shelter from the raging storm of monotony and uninspired copy-and-paste hardcore that drags on outside.

Bright, warm guitar tones and pulsing, incessant percussion lie at the heart of Sending Lights’ Haven. As sure as the sun pierces through cold, fluffy winter clouds and melts away at the frozen jail that covers the listener’s hardened heart, Sending Lights shine through the dreary mist of monotonous hardcore bands leaping from the scene’s woodwork. “From Distances” is an epic, intense journey that starts off at a rollicking, rapid candor and refuses to slow down, using warm, colorful guitar and plodding, thumping percussion to squeeze the listener’s heart, keeping it in time with the music. Things shift on the EP’s title track, “Haven,” however. “Haven” starts slow, reaching out and using subtle guitar and sparse, crystal-clear percussion to entrance the listener before picking up the pace and grabbing hold of them, trapping them in a warm embrace and refusing to let them go. Even in spite of it’s remarkably brief run time, Haven shows Sending Lights using a broad variety of instrumental dynamics to combine emotion, passion and feeling with energy and power to create a perfect melodic hardcore backdrop for the vocals to spew paint and meaning across.

Where Haven’s instrumentation is, for the most part, warm inviting shades of passion and feeling, its vocal work is an exercise in pure energy. Rigorously attacking the listener with strained syllable after strained syllable, it is the band’s vocal element that forces them to truly connect with the listener. Again the listener’s attention is turned to “From Distances,” a colorful and intense track that spans the miles between the vocalists words and the listener’s headphones and conveys the pain and perserverance in his voice so clearly, the listener can practically feel his breath and spit collecting on the side of his face. Where energy and intensity may lack in the instrumentation, it is more than compensated for in the cantankerous, painstakingly sincere lyrics and vocal efforts that are abound throughout Haven.

While the warmth and cavernous, spacious atmosphere of Haven’s instrumentation invites the listener inside, it is Sending Lights’ vocal element that keeps the listener there, grabbing hold of them and refusing to let them go. Even over the all-too-brief collection of four tracks, Sending Lights make a veritable connection with the listener that begs to be acknowledged. For what the band lack in length from their debut EP, Stow Away, they make up for in genuine, tangible passion. This is evident in every aspect of the band’s release—whether it is “From Distances” and its colorful spectrum of fierce power or “Novels” and the pure, pristine poetry that comprises its lyrics. Every aspect of Haven begs the listener to listen closer and truly connect—even if by the time that connection is made, the EP is already coming to a close and demands to be replayed.

Haven is the warm fire in a brick fireplace, tucked away in an isolated cabin resting upon a snowy hillside. It is Sending Lights crafting a truly inviting setting for the listener to ravel themselves in, to get lost in and never wish to be found—however, by the time the listener feels as though they’ve wandered deeply enough into Haven’s forest to truly relax, the journey is over and the real world drags them back to a harsh, jagged reality.



For Fans Of: Defeater, Motives, Aviator, Pianos Become the Teeth

By: Connor Welsh