Conformicide - Havok
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review by Steve Jenkins
Trying to lead the charge for the genre, Colorado thrashers Havok have been at the forefront of the revivalist scene since their formation a decade ago as they set out to carry the ideals and intensity of their forefathers to the current trend of fellow thrash acts. With the addition of new bassist Nick Schendzielos to replace Mike Leon, the group springs forth it’s fourth full-length effort on new label Century Media Records.
There are fiery riffs alongside rampant drumming and cackling vocals that are very reminiscent of bands like Overkill on this new album. That being said, Conformicide is raw. It's relentless. It's an aggravating assault that becomes more ferocious with the anti-political venom spit forth from vocalist David Sanchez. It's a more appropriate time then any to release a big 'FU' to politics in light of past events, and Havok does it without beating around the bush in the slightest. Lyrically, this record is raw and unhinged (although perhaps a bit immature), and is a blatant attack on the biased and crumbling media and news outlets that surround us. There is no time wasted on pretty analogies or pretensions metaphors. Havok burst down the walls with their middle fingers up and tell you then and there what they think. The aforementioned 'F.P.C' is the first track and it tells you concisely exactly what it's message was meant to convey. Anger. An absolute rage that permeates this record both lyrically and sonically. In terms of sound, Conformicide is basically your typical thrash, just simply done with a bit more finesse and power. There are crunchy, mean-sounding riffs, blazing solos and blistering drum patterns and fills constantly present off this record, all topped off by the ear splitting shrieks performed by David. Thrash metal vocals are generally gruff as to be expected, but he takes this to the next level. His voice sounds like he lined the inside of his throat with sandpaper, creating a sound that could only best be described as Overkill-meets-Motorhead. His voice is simply beaten to hell and rough as could be, which only makes Havok sound that much more infuriated and pummeling.
The best part about this record however, perhaps the defining features of Conformicide is that funky bass. There are some serious grooves laid down through the entirety off this record and they, for lack of a better phrase, rule hard. There are simply too many great bass hooks to simply pick out one, and while some thrash elitists may sneer, it's rare you get to hear such sweet bass in something like thrash metal, where the guitar reigns supreme. Of course aside from this, Conformicide is pretty typical thrash. However when the solos run ablaze like wildfire alongside ripping drum work and vocals that sound like a wailing banshee, what can you be disappointed with? You cannot ask for much more when it comes to traditional and modern thrash elements combined when it comes to this record. Havok have created an album that hits the ground running and goes through so many twists and turns that it will never get old.
8.5 out of 10 stars.
Conformicide is out now via Century Media Records and can be purchased on iTunes and all good music retailers, you can also stream it on Spotify.
Watch the video for the track 'Intention To Deceive' below:
Find them here:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HavokOfficial/
Instagram - @havokbandofficial
Twitter - @HAVOKthrash