Album Reviews

Havok – V Review

Released by Century Media Records

Release Date: May 1st, 2020

Genre: Thrash Metal

 

Lineup:

David Sanchez – Vocals, Guitars

Pete Webber – Drums

Reece Scruggs – Guitars

Brandon Bruce – Bass

 

Tracklist:

Post-Truth Era
Fear Campaign
Betrayed By Technology
Ritual Of The Mind
Interface With The Infinite
Dab Tsog
Phantom Force
Cosmetic Surgery
Panpsychism
Merchants Of Death
Don’t Do It

 

American band Havok was formed in Denver, Colorado in 2004 and they belong to the thrash metal revival acts of the new millennium. They have delivered four studio albums which are known for their impressive levels of versatility in their music and the extreme vocals in a hybrid version of the German and Bay Area thrash metal tradition. Following the successful “Conformicide”, the band’s more musically adventurous project to date, Havok has chosen to take a more conventional path for their fifth release. Their new studio work is simply titled “V” and it’s more adapted to their classic thrash metal roots. Nevertheless, Havok has reserved enough variability to their sound for the fans that look for more than a typical old school thrash metal record.
“Post-Truth Era” is a fast modern thrash track with many mid-tempo groove metal breaks. The band gives a sample of their amazing technical abilities, meanwhile, the drum parts have the leading role in giving the pace to the song. The following “Fear Campaign” is a pure classic thrash metal tune in its entirety. The excellent guitar riffing and soloing in combination with the extremely precise percussion behind the harsh vocals remind the old days of the genre.

The speed slows down at this point, but the intensity of the songs is maintained at the same levels. Here comes “Betrayed By Technology” with its groove metal style to prove that Havok knows how to do the job even in mid-tempo compositions. There are interesting bass lines and shredding parts, but this track shows how important the flexibility of the drummer can be for a team that aims into giving a variety of speed to their records. “Ritual Of The Mind” decelerates even more, but the guitar riffs and the punchy effect of the drums give a heavier sound. This is another case that shows the neuralgic position of the man behind the drum kit.

“Interface With The Infinite” is a piece of absolute heaviness with interesting changes in style, from technical thrash to groove metal and it also includes a powerful guitar solo in the verse. The short instrumental “Dab Tsog” leads to “Phantom Force”, where Havok slips into their trademark style. This is a modern thrash metal composition with many twists and turns in the rhythm and classic heavy metal influences which are more obvious at the guitar work. The bass lines have gained the role of a pacemaker in this highly technical song, where the precision in the instrumental execution is the main element.

Here is the point where Havok adds more ingredients into the recipe to offer some more variety to the listener. “Cosmetic Surgery” gives a rougher touch to the record: the heavier riffing, some blast beats can be identified behind the harsher screams at the vocal parts. The situation becomes heavier with “Panpsychism”. The acoustic melody at the beginning could mislead the listener because the guitar work evolves into an imponent but mid-tempo riffing. The strong bass lines with the whispering vocals lead to speedy guitar parts, harsh screams, and a solo with British heavy metal influences. There are continuous alterations in the rhythm of this track, a fact that gives a wild complexity and nice weirdness to its structure.
“Merchants Of Death” is a speedy but easy listening thrash metal track which seems to be a short break before the eight-minute-long final piece “Don’t Do It”. Here, the acoustic progressive melody gives a haunting, mysterious atmosphere that gradually becomes heavier with the entrance of a stronger riffing and drumming. The vocal parts have an emotional impact on the listener with an interchange between harsh screams and whispers. There are also a few lines of clean singing here with the guitar melody in a backing role. At this point, Havok unleashes a final speedy assault which fades into an acoustic guitar ending.

“V” is a solid thrash metal album that confirms that Havok is one of the most interesting bands of the genre. The American band continues their successful career with a more conventional studio album in comparison with its more adventurous predecessor. Despite being a safer choice in relation to “Conformicide”, “V” is a compact old school thrash offering enriched with sounds from various genres of metal music. Even if there is a modern production, the roots of the Bay Area and Teutonic thrash metal are very intense. This new record will please the fans of the genre.

 

Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Katerina Paisoglou

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

 

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