Rating: 3.5/5.0 (Great riffing offset by bad, bad lyrics)
Label: Candlelight Records
Website: myspace.com/havok
Release Dates: Out now (apparently)

HAVOK_-_BURN_artworkHow could Havok be anything but thrash?  One doesn’t even have to listen to the band to get an idea of what they sound like when one looks at the coloration and logo of the band’s debut album: Burn.  And Havok truly lives up to their predecessors, need I name them?  Kill ‘Em All era Metallica, Testament, and so forth.. actually, these guys sound like a re-birth of America’s most famous metal scene of all time: the bay area thrash scene.

That said, Havok certainly isn’t just rehashed suck.  Sure, they’re part of this ever-growing but never-developing neo-thrash scene, but they’ve got something a lot of these new bands never have had: chops.  The riffing on Burn is fucking killer.  It’s not your average thrash riffing, but instead it’s like taking Reign in Blood and putting it on meth, face-ripping, kick ass riffing that makes you want to thrash like crazy (though, I still don’t want to wear shoes with puffy tongues like I had in 3rd grade).  On top of that, these guys are pretty technical, too.  Sure, it’s not mind-blowing, but it’s cool enough that you’re left thinking, “yeah, these guys were a good pick-up.”

Unfortunately, despite great riffing, good tone and grooving tightness, Havok suffers from one thing: totally retarded lyrics.  I mean, yeah, they could be worse.. They could be Ravage, but instead, they’re just ironically silly at times or worse.  The track “Identity Theft” is a perfect example of this.  These lyrics are just outright bad and should never have been put on a record.  HAVOK3Frankly, that jackass from Slipknot wouldn’t have even used these.  “Identity theft! Who are you? Identity theft! Find something new. You think your different?  To try to fit in…”  “I don’t try to lead, others just like to follow me.” Seriously, my middle school band had bitter lyrics than this.  This stuff is just sad and silly and it really detracts from the record as a whole.1 While the music is fucking fantastically interesting and fun, the guitar playing is stellar and the feel of the album is great, I think they should’ve used some black metal vocals or something to hide how totally dumb their lyrics are.

Of course, the bad lyrics don’t stop this record from kicking ass.  There are stellar tracks on here, particularly “Path to Nowhere,” “Scabs of Trust” and the seriously excellent “Afterburner” which is easily the best track on the album. When it comes to thrash, there sure as hell isn’t a lot coming out these days that I think is any good, so let me be perfectly clear when I say that Havok is the most convincing neo-thrash band that I’ve heard.  They’ve got the edge, the technicality, the chops and the all around presentation that make them a band to watch. And I’ll sure as hell be watching.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Not to mention the irony that a band that is totally copying a scene long dead has absolutely no right to accuse others of being “followers.”  That’s some seriously narcissistic irony.
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  • FalseMetalInAmerica

    “Havok is the most convincing neo-thrash band that I’ve heard. ”

    I gotta give it to Warbringer, man. Havok is decent, and to their credit I haven’t seen them live, but I have a feeling warbringer would crush ’em. Just my 2 cents. Good review.

  • Jake P.

    I agree totally!! for the most part the lyrics are pretty gay. Identity Theft is the WORST ONE EVER. so ironically stupid. what about the drumming and bass playing though? you didn’t even mention those aspects.

    • Right you are, sir and an oversight that was! The drums and the bass were good. Like a lot of metal the bass sort of blends into the background, but the drumming was solid. The problem that I have with a lot of modern drums is the fucking triggers, and this record was no different. The bass drums have no oomph at all, and that’s a bit sad. But the kid can play. All those kids can play. It’s just the lyrics that are embarrassing.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Thrashmasta Z

    “…totally retarded lyrics. I mean, yeah, they could be worse.. They could be Ravage”

    And what are good metal lyrics? Pretentious Mastodon crap? What a tool.

    • That’s a great question. What ARE good metal lyrics? I’d say Opeth has pretty good lyrics. A lot of death metal guys do. Writing about how fucking cool you are in your high school is not good lyrical content. That’s called being 14. Seriously.

  • PirateMetalMasta

    Thrash on metal brothers! I like lyrics about Pirates and also Mac And Cheese (see the Annihilator song about easy mac)

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