Here’s what’s great about Havok. They are the pioneers of a movement known as The New Wave of Thrash Metal, or as some call it, Thrash Revival. This is a good thing, because while some of the genre’s forefathers are either in TOTAL disarray (Slayer), or are putting out terrible albums (Megadeth), the guys in Havok are waving the thrash metal flag high, clear, and in your face! First with Burn, and then the critically-acclaimed Time Is Up, this band made you sit up and take notice from day one.
Now they have unleashed Unnatural Selection upon us, and the results are stellar. “I Am the State” sets the tone for the speed fest that is sure to follow, and even features a mini solo from drummer Pete Webber at the end. David Sanchez’s vocals are in top form, not only on this song, but throughout the whole record. THIS is how you start an album off right. “Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death” keeps the bullet train rolling, with Sanchez and Reece Scruggs mining the old school thrash/speed metal riffs for all they’re worth. Scruggs also delivers one of the finest solos on this track.
“It Is True” has a NWOBHM feel to it, and is my favorite song on the album. The sheer tightness of the band, coupled with bassist Michael Leon’s moment to shine has me hoping this one will be showcased on tour here in Dallas at Three Links in a few weeks. “Under the Gun” is another drummer-owned song, and years from now we’ll be mentioning Pete Webber’s name alongside the greats like Lombardo, Bostaph, and Hoglan. Calling him a beast doesn’t do him justice.
“Waste of Life” is also a favorite from the get-go. It has a Death Angel feel to it, especially on the choruses, and by no means is that a bad thing, since I love them. “Living Nightmare” and the title track bury the needle again, going from 0-60 in about 10 seconds. However, the changes of pace found on songs like “Chasing the Edge” and “Worse Than War” are also very effective, and are a nice way to shake things up. Finally, their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” is outstanding. Mr. Iommi must have been proud upon hearing it.
Three albums into their career, Havok are undeniably the cream that will rise to the top as many of their contemporaries fall by the wayside. Combining powerful riffs, face-melting solos, and drumming for the ages, this is one band that’s not going away anytime soon, thank the Metal Gods!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “It is True”, “Waste of Life”, “I Am the State”, “Children of the Grave”
– Originally published in Dallas Metal Music Examiner, June 26, 2013