Saturday, May 2, 2020

Havok : " V "

The smoke has cleared and the victors in the war of retro thrash have emerged .  Toxic Holocaust has  a couple albums I dig. Municipal Waste felt like kids who were in punk bands that wanted to jump on the metal band wagon at the tail end of the Myspace days. The reason the bar is held high for this sort of thing  is because . I'm I bought " Master of Puppets" on cassette the week it came out old. I saw Slayer, Overkill, Anthrax, Testament, Flotsam & Jetsam, Metal Church and Exodus in the 80s. I know aside from that most recent Testament review, I do not cover a great deal of it as my tastes tend to fall along the darker side of doom and black metal these days with a penchant for out of the box thinking when it comes to metal. Thrash tends to follow the rules of it's genre. Yeah there was some experimental thrash back in the day.... Wrathchild America, Scatterbrain , Mordred and Death Angel. I loved that shit. These days they tend to follow the template of their influences and get hung up on tone and how fast they can play. In doing so they for get what made the classic thrash bands classic is they wrote good songs.

This is where Havok is getting it right. I had not paid a great deal of attention until I pressed play on this album. I now know the error of my ways. I do know must of the original line up went on to form Necro Panther. You may be aware of my rule about not just metal but music in general, if not I will say it again for the people in the cheap seats. "Cool riffs alone does not a good song make" . There has to be dynamics. If bands are taking requests I would also like it do be dark. Havok is fun, but they are not dark so I will over look this. The vocals serve a purpose. They are not just a scowled after thought due to their obligatory nature. The album starts when the Metallic fade in. This is not the only Metallica moment. It was almost hard for me to get past the second song "Fear Campaign" as I kept going back into. Lyrically I think it speaks to what is going on in the world today, so it's relevance has made it my Corona theme song.

All instruments are 100 percent on point for " Betrayed By Technology". Once again very timely lyrics  that resonant with me. The bass tone on this album is impressive and it is good to hear it so present in the mix. The vocals come closer to singing rather than the spit fire snarling they have been doing. "Phantom Force" is the first single from this album, it's the kind of break neck speed you expect from this kind of thing, while song writing is still in place I think the need for speed makes this one feel rushed . They start stepping on the gas as the pace picks up in the album's third act. They do not catch the same quality of groove on a song like "Cosmetic Surgery". Maybe it just has to grow on me. They do add things like actual singing and groove to "Parapsychism" to make it one of the album's best songs even with the wink to "Whom the Bell Tolls". "Merchants of Death" gets caught back up in the speed factor, but is arranged in such a way that it compensates for this. There is a darker and more melodic touch to "Don't Do it" that works well. I will give this one a 9.5, this will be a hard album for new thrash bands to beat.

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