Released: 2017, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Manos X
Havok is a US band that has been around since 2004. In these 13 they’ve been quite busy releasing two Eps, 8 singles (!!!) and 4 albums. Besides being active in creating new music Havok are also equally active when it comes to touring. Indeed their heavy tour schedule has brought the band supporting and headlining many shows around the globe.
Their sounds balances between bands like Destruction, Kreator, Forbidden and the mighty Nuclear Assault. So yeah you guessed it…. It’s balls on take no prisoners thrash. Equally balancing between two different schools of music (US and European) Havok create aggressive but at the same time melodic music fused with beautiful solos, great riffs, lots of headbanging moments and a voice that sounds like the offspring between Schmier (Destruction) and John Connelly (Nuclear Assault).
I was stoked to listening their latest offering titled “Conformicide” since I was really hooked on the previous 2 albums “Unnatural selection” and “Time is up”. These 2 albums made regular visits on my cd player (and mp3 player) in the last 6 years.
All of the characteristics that made notice Havok are still here. Venomous screechy singing, fast tempos, great production, good guitars & bass and solid music skills. So everything is good and it’s a great album someone might ask? Wel…… kind of. I mean it could be a good album because it’s not like Havok decided to change their sound by introducing modern and prog elements (thank God for that!). But their songwriting skills seemed to have been toned down. I thought am I getting older and thrash doesn’t cut it for me anymore? So I gave this album a lot of spins but damn it the result was the same each one. So I decided playing previous albums and the switch back to the new one. Yeah it’s not me and thankfully thrash still gives me goosebumps (and neck pains!). Havok’s “Conformicide” is their weakest one so far in fact it brought “Force of habit” from Exodus to mind an album that despite having all the right ingredients managed to get the recipe all wrong giving a result with few memorable and interesting moments.
This is how I feel about this one too. It’s a shame because Havok can certainly as hell play their instruments plus they’re backed by a clear and crisp production (maybe too crisp for the style just check the sound in the snare and double bass), the aggressiveness is there but ultimately it’s not their finest moment. Some interesting moments in songs like “Wake up”, “Dogmaniacal” and “Hang ’em high” exist but not enough to make me come back like I did on their previous albums.
Really wish that this is just a misstep for this great young band and cross my fingers for a powerful comeback in the future.