Man. What can I say about Havok that I haven’t already in my previous FOUR features on them, hmm? Clearly I love this band. They are that rare find; a group that blends the best of thrash metal with some cool melodic grooves and killer riffs, all the while making it look easy. Factor in that they’re all super-nice guys and what’s not to love? So when Liz from Earsplit PR and Tom over at FiXT Publicity asked if I wanted to go see them again I almost broke my fingers typing back “YESSS!!!”
On this particular night they were playing at Trees to kick off the first gig of their tour with Soulfly,and between myself, my friend Jordan from Darkhouse Images (he took these killer pics!), and my other friend Josh (a new convert), I don’t know who was more excited. Probably me, because I’m a tad high-strung, or so they tell me. There were two bands opening but I had zero interest. I had Havok on the brain and little else.
Finally, the curtains parted, and the boys wasted no time, launching into ‘Point Of No Return”. At singer/guitarist David Sanchez’s urging the circle pit was a whirling mass of bodies ten seconds in, and you could see bassist Michael Leon smiling with approval. Last show it was his job to get the pit going on, tonight was David’s turn, apparently. The stage divers wasted no time in making themselves known, either. David also took a moment to grin and say, “Government shutdown, huh?!?” before “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” proceeded to melt faces and stir the pit up even more! A brutalizing song, it is also one of the best they’ve written yet, no question.
“Covering Fire” and “Cradle to the Grave” soon followed, guitarist Reece Scruggs shredding like his life depended on it, and drummer Pete “Arms of an Octopus” Webber pounding the skins like a man possessed. Then of course came “Afterburner” complete with David’s PSA about NO KARATE IN THE PIT, dammit!! The crowd was nuts from the opening moments, and the stage diving reached an all-time high during this one. It was so cool to see all the metalheads in the audience helping each other get up there and get back down safely, too.
After maybe a 30-second water break, the song they shot their latest video for, “Worse Than War” and then “D.O.A.” galvanized the crowd into further madness, heads banging everywhere you looked. Next up was the title track from their fantastic new album, “Unnatural Selection” which is also one of my favorites. Pete’s drumming led the way and the riffs were just an aural beatdown. And then…well then Havok played their last song of the evening, “Time Is Up”. Batshit crazy, or whatever description you’d like to use here does NOT even begin to describe the scene at Trees when they tore into this one. All I saw was bodies everywhere! And that’s the idea, right?
Bottom line: Havok delivered a tight, nine-song set that left us all fully satisfied, yet always wanting more. When it was over I looked at Josh, smiled and said, “Didn’t I tell ya they fucking kill it?” And he couldn’t agree fast enough. Such is the power of this band. I can honestly say that they are one of the most kickass metal bands I have seen live in the last decade, and if they come to Dallas 100 times, then I will be there in the front 100 times, count on it. And if you haven’t seen Havok live yet, then I truly have to question not only your metal worthiness, but your sanity as well.
Translation: GO AND SEE HAVOK NOW!!!