The 21st century saw the establishment of a new wave of modern thrash metal bands. It was only a matter of time for this sub-genre to rise again with a lot of new bands sprouting up. As a prime example of this movement, this review highlights the latest release of the USA thrash metal band from Colorado, Havok. After three years the Denver thrash metal band is back with a brand new studio album titled ‘V‘. The four-piece combines the technicality of modern thrash metal, where they present solid aggression. Ever since the band was established in 2004, they gained a good reputation. Havok’s greatest achievement was perceived on the sophomore release ‘Time Is Up‘ and this has eventually placed them among the contemporary bands of thrash metal of the USA. And while I am more into the old school thrash metal bands, Havok’s latest album received a big hype, which made me curious to check out their latest effort. So let’s get into the contents of their fifth studio album which was recently released via Century Media Records.
The album opener ‘Post-Truth Era’ immediately exhilarates into fast tempos and offers an adrenaline dose of thrashing riffage. Havok lightens the mood and takes the trendy style of the modern clichés, but don’t get me wrong here. The overall tone is still heavy. The fierce attack of the twin guitars is handled by vocalist/rhythm guitarist, David Sanchez and lead guitarist, Reece Scruggs. While drummer, Peter Webber will take on a nonstop cycle of a roller coaster ride. The bass guitar is audible throughout the album and Brandon Bruce is in full command.
The second attack ‘Fear Campaign’ gets punchier and it’s clear that the band has a professional way to stir up the tempo. The guitars send cataclysmic waves of effective solos and the striking tone of the raspy vocals blends quite well with the music. ‘V’ is fueled by aggression and the coherent intensity of the songs is inflated by enthusiasm, but its consistency makes some of the tracks sound average. The dual guitars provide the energy whilst the agitated tone of the aggressive vocals adds a sense of hostility. But when the third track ‘Betrayed by Technology’ pumps in, it quickly provides instant energy. The moshing gigantic riffs and the kinetic drums transform this song into one massive assault of proper thrash metal riffage. Musically, the entire album is arranged by excellent guitar arrangements, although technicality and melodies are both combined simultaneously.
The tempo somewhat increases as each song contains a lethal dose of blazing riffs, allowing the drums to kick in with such force. The thrilling excitement soon rushes into the ears as the fourth track ‘Ritual of the Mind’ is played at an electrifying mid-tempo. The choruses are laden with wicked melodies and this proves that Havok has diversified their approach. ‘V‘ isn’t different from the traditional modern thrash metal albums that you have heard before, yet the songs are powered by superb drumming and guitar riffs. Listen to ‘Interface with the Infinite’ and you will hear the violent riffs offered by the dual guitars. Although the majority of the album is set on mid-tempo, the band maintains the violent nature.
‘Phantom Force’ is unleashed by violent blasts of percussion. The shift towards speed and the surging solos is professionally blended. The high octane delivery still resonates strongly on tracks like ‘Cosmetic Surgery’ where Havok delivers a competent performance. Amid the massive riffs and the raspy vocals of David Sanchez, the band further shows their energy as they keep the level of aggression intact. Havok has gone through many cycles of evolvement, however, I can say that ‘V‘ is the band’s best album since the sophomore 2011 album ‘Time Is Up‘.
‘Panpsychism’ begins with clean guitars and they work pretty well as an intro. Brandon Bruce shows his skills: the echoed reverberation of the bass guitar sounds clear and powerful. Although I enjoyed half of the album, there are a few tracks like ‘Merchants of Death‘ which I have disregarded. The final track ‘Don’t Do It’ builds on a vicious intro. Then the guitars get into the action and deliver solid aggression when the tempo picks up and the militaristic riffs paddle in. ‘V‘ was mixed and mastered by the American producer, Mark Lewis (Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Black Dahlia Murder, etc…). Havok‘s latest album is recommended to the thrash metal addicts, especially for fans of Evile, Violator, and Exodus.
Release Date: May 1st, 2020
Label: Century Media Records
- Post-Truth Era
- Fear Campaign
- Betrayed by Technology
- Ritual of the Mind
- Interface with the Infinite
- Dab Tsog
- Phantom Force
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Merchants of Death
- Don’t Do It