Norway is often described as the epicenter of all things metal. And why shouldn’t it be? Norweigan metal band Burzum had a member that was arrested for killing a rival band’s singer and burning down churches in Norway.
Listen now and hear this: Havok is here
Norway is often described as the epicenter of all things metal. And why shouldn’t it be? Norweigan metal band Burzum had a member that was arrested for killing a rival band’s singer and burning down churches in Norway. As such, it is only fitting that awesome American metal band Havok hails from Denver, Colo., a populous city surrounded by mountains that countless manly-men have died in.
Though released in March of this year, Havok’s new album Time is Up is so heartbreakingly overlooked that four months later, it gets a special recap, as many of you may have missed it or haven’t heard of Havok entirely.
First thing’s first: this record is amazingly tight, and you’ll notice this within the first six seconds of Time is Up. During the first track, the adequately-titled “Prepare for Attack,” monstrous riffs are swallowed by precision drumming that’s so crisp and clean that you’ll swear you’re listening to a crappy Def Leppard record. However, after the ungodly howl that follows, you’ll know you’re not.
While the playing on Time isn’t the most original—and let’s call a spade a spade, this is metal we’re talking about here—it is very, very good.
Vocalist David Sanchez is well aware of his role in the band—one that sees the vocalist take a backseat to the staggering riffs and the potent harmonies. This isn’t to say Sanchez isn’t a good vocalist, in fact, he is exceptional; he just knows precisely where to make his presence felt for maximum impact. Let’s face it, a small percentage of metal fans listen to thrash records because of the vocals. When was the last time you listened to a Slayer record to hear Tom Araya caterwaul about Satan?
The focus of Time is the riffs, plain and simple. Though guitarists Reece Scruggs and the aforementioned David Sanchez are certainly technically proficient, they don’t clutter up the tracks on Timewith a lot of wanky throwaway solos. However, Scruggs is capable of solos, as a couple of tracks on Time utilize them to great effect, specifically track seven, “Scumbag in Disguise.” At around two-thirds in, the listener is treated to one of the best moments on the record, a pulverizing yet affable solo that is harmonized with Sanchez’ rhythm playing several times. After the drums pummel you into syncopated submission, Sanchez lets out a stomach-knotting howl that forces you to pay attention.
Sanchez shows great promise on this record, placing him in the upper echelon of current American metal powerhouses like David Davidson of Revocation, Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste and J.R. Hayes of Pig Destroyer.
The guitar work exhibited by Scruggs issometimes awe-inspiring. On track eight, “The Cleric,” it is utterly impossible to not listen to the last third and not want to start a metal band. The guitars are just too good.
Havok is at its absolute best when all its instruments, vocals included, work together to deliver maximum brutality. Nowhere is this as prevalent than track ten, “Out of My Way.” The entire song is exactly what thrash should be—pissed off journeys through the ability of each band member—and this track has it in spades. “Out of My Way” is the best track on Time, hands down.
As far as weak links go, the Havok chain has few. In fact, the record only has one moment which drags down the mood a bit; the clean vocals in track six, “Killing Tendencies,” are a little uninspired. However, the only fault they suffer from is being sort of “un-thrash-like,” which isn’t even that bad; they provide a decent break from the insanity that the rest of the record gorges itself on.
The only other downside of Time is perhaps the track order, but it’s rather endearing that the last track is the title track, especially given the title of the record.
That said, Havok delivers a truly great thrash record for die-hard fans, all the way up to anyone who ever heard one metal song they even kind of liked in their whole life. Don’t sleep on this one, lest your time be up. ?