Friday, 1 July 2016

Havok "Time Is Up" (2011)

American Thrash Metal band Havok from Denver Colorado are part of the Thrash revival scene that's emerged in recent years. I caught them at Download Festival and picked up this, their second record, based on the inclusion of "D.O.A", dead on arrival, a song I remembered from their impressive live show. Just like you might wish for, Havok are a band that in the two decades since the genres peak haven't strayed from the path. They have however let modern production and Metal sound influence their aesthetic in terms of quality and clarity but when it comes to the music its as Thrash as it gets. Those years gone by have picked out the best attributes, techniques, riffs and thrown them together in what would undoubtedly been a masterpiece if released in the 80s. With crisp crunchy guitars and punchy drums Havok bring the best of the genre in what sounds to me like a cross between Slayer and Testament.

Starting with "Prepare For Attack" it doesn't take long for a blitz of base pedals and choppy temperate guitar riffs to raise the energy and create an atmosphere fit for circle pits and intense moshing. No messing around and straight to the point this album is forty minutes of pure Thrash and no filler! Without faulting from this path no song is particularly stands out or becomes truly remarkable, its strengths are in its continual consistency, never leting its foot of the gas. If you've got the iTunes edition there's an extra treat in store as the bonus track is a cover of Slayer's "Raining Blood" played with flawless precision at a higher tempo, a level of adrenaline maybe matched by the menacing riffs on "No Amnesty".

Each element at work is full throttle, the drums crisp, bold and punchy the snares gorgeous tone bursts through with a solid snappy punch and the pedals pack a meaty momentum as they loudly whirl swiftly like a mechanical backbone of brutality. They work intertwined with the palm muted and open string chugging guitars to create energetic momentum in the rhythm department. The guitars tone sounds squeezed with distortion as the fast choppy guitars shred away at fast speeds, when they break for cleaner leads the tone shows a softer side and I would say the lead guitars are most reminiscent of Megadeth guitar solos and sometimes vocally too. Singer Sanchez's narrow, throaty and slightly nasal voice has a classic vibe and in one song mimics the classic bellowing and high pitched scream of Tom Araya from Slayer.

In its purity the record often echos familiarity with classic bands of the era without encroaching their identity and the only thing besides production that sounds like a step forward are the gang shouts which slide into the fold brilliantly. All other aspects of the record are classic, no guitar technique or riff sounds far from the era but the recreational aspect plays it out to a stunning level. Extremely enjoyable record, as I said, would of been a classic if released in the 80s.

Favorite Tracks: No Amnesty, D.O.A
Rating: 8/10

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