Havok - Unnatural Selection review



Reviewer:
N/A

120 users:
7.39
Band: Havok
Album: Unnatural Selection
Release date: June 2013


01. I Am The State
02. Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death
03. It Is True
04. Under The Gun
05. Waste Of Life
06. Living Nightmare
07. Chasing The Edge
08. Worse Than War
09. Children Of The Grave [Black Sabbath cover]
10. Unnatural Selection


The media usually dubs a third album release as the "make it, or break it" point in a bands career. Havok's third album Unnatural Selection won't do either of those. A quote, albeit modified, by the great Doc Godin in regards to their prior album (Time Is Up) might explain some of the difficulties I had while reviewing their latest piece.

"...I was really stoked on hating loving this. In fact, even as I sit and listen to it, something in my brain is telling me I should hate love this...but I have to admit, this is actually pretty solid average."

There, I said it - average, as in I expected more. Not saying the new album is bad, it actually grew on me, but maybe Havok set the bar too high with their 2011 release Time Is Up and that's why I expected more this time around; who knows. But one thing is for sure; they did evolve from their earlier sound, but if this is a good thing has yet to be determined.

Unnatural Selection does start off pretty strong while being very gratifying to the ear. Not so much to the neck muscles - be forewarned, head-banging guarantied. The guitar riffs and solos alike, while nothing groundbreaking, are what you would expect to hear on a thrash album. But then Unnatural Selection turns a bit - "unnatural".

While Sanchez, as well as Scruggs, do prove over and over again that they clearly are the masters of their axes, the songs structures and overall sense of listening to thrash does turn to a more modern version of the genre. Things pick back up with "Chasing The Edge"; short, sweet, awesome solo, and we are back on track. Well, almost. While the follower "Worse Than War" has a killer and very memorable lead riff, the song in itself could be faster.

After throwing in a Black Sabbath cover the album does ends on a strong note. The title track reminds us once again that Havok is actually a thrash band. But, since the bulk of the album is somewhat mid-tempo driven I wouldn't be surprised if some "thrash elitists" won't give Unnatural Selection a fair chance.

Don't get me wrong; the musicianship is superb. The shredding is, as expected, good old Havok style. Their newly acquired bassist Mike Leon (The Absence) is not only a virtuoso on his 4-string but his plugging is very heavy in the mix throughout the entire album; "Under The Gun" just one of many examples. Sometimes though it feels that Havok didn't use Pete Webber's abilities to their fullest since the drumming is not as demanding on some songs. But then again; a drum solo on "I Am The State"? Hmmm, that caught me of guard.

David Sanchez tried some different vocal styles on this release as well. While the majority of the album does feature his thrashier style of singing on "Waste Of Life" Dave Mustai . eh Sanchez throws in some clean as well as shouting spurts. Verdict is still out on this one.

In all, the album is not bad and it does grow on you. Yes, it is extreme modern sounding. Yes, I still believe their prior one was better. No, I don't believe Havok lost their edge. I look at Unnatural Selection as the "rambunctious teenager" in their discography; a time to explore and experiment.


 



Written on 21.06.2013 by Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 49   Visited by: 358 users
03.07.2013 - 21:49
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 03.07.2013 at 17:08

I never attacked Marcel on Havok case, although I attack him on different cases when he's insanely drunk and type some random shit.

His comments must be on a "newbies" who drilled 10 without listening to the new record. I, certainly, not one of them.

Well I know that now. But at the time of my post I didn't.
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04.07.2013 - 01:14
Sir Thrashalot
''There, I said it - average, as in I expected more. Not saying the new album is bad, it actually grew on me, but maybe Havok set the bar too high with their 2011 release Time Is Up and that's why I expected more this time around; who knows. But one thing is for sure; they did evolve from their earlier sound, but if this is a good thing has yet to be determined.''

My thoughts exactly after a few spin. I highly prefer Time is Up to this one. It's worth a few spin but nothing very much interesting here.
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06.07.2013 - 10:17
Sunioj
This album feels very tame, not a huge fan. Time is Up had a lot of raw energy that seems to have died here.
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06.07.2013 - 21:22
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Sunioj on 06.07.2013 at 10:17

This album feels very tame, not a huge fan. Time is Up had a lot of raw energy that seems to have died here.

According to their frontman (in our Staff interview with him) they didn't lose the energy, they just made a conscious effort to slow things down a little bit on this album so that their live shows would be more varied than just high speed thrash the whole time.
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06.07.2013 - 22:06
Sunioj
Written by psykometal on 06.07.2013 at 21:22

According to their frontman (in our Staff interview with him) they didn't lose the energy, they just made a conscious effort to slow things down a little bit on this album so that their live shows would be more varied than just high speed thrash the whole time.


Yeah, I remember reading that. They can do whatever they want but the only reason I listen to thrash (the little I do) is to have my teeth kicked in and this isn't anything spectacular for me. Some songs are alright and faster, but its not the type of listen that begs me to come back. I can see the appeal though
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06.07.2013 - 23:29
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Sunioj on 06.07.2013 at 22:06

Yeah, I remember reading that. They can do whatever they want but the only reason I listen to thrash (the little I do) is to have my teeth kicked in and this isn't anything spectacular for me. Some songs are alright and faster, but its not the type of listen that begs me to come back. I can see the appeal though

Oh fasho. I was just indicating the reason. I feel the same way, I also listen to very little thrash, and it's usually always these retro thrash bands cuz they're usually packed full of that raw energy and groove that was so prevelant in the 80s.

If you're looking for some other good high-energy retro thrash then also check out the latest from Crisix, Lost Society and Gama Bomb.
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07.07.2013 - 10:36
Sunioj
Written by psykometal on 06.07.2013 at 23:29

If you're looking for some other good high-energy retro thrash then also check out the latest from Crisix, Lost Society and Gama Bomb.


Thanks, I will give that a shot. Check out Power Trip, its crossover but pretty brutal.
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07.07.2013 - 10:47
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Sunioj on 07.07.2013 at 10:36

Thanks, I will give that a shot. Check out Power Trip, its crossover but pretty brutal.

Yea, I have Power Trip. Good thrash from my home state of Texas! They're one of the only crossover bands I actually like thanks to the production and heavier focus on the thrash than the punk.
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07.07.2013 - 14:09
Sunioj
Written by psykometal on 07.07.2013 at 10:47

Yea, I have Power Trip. Good thrash from my home state of Texas! They're one of the only crossover bands I actually like thanks to the production and heavier focus on the thrash than the punk.


Ah, that's right. I think they're out of Fort Worth. Great stuff, the production is really good.
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07.07.2013 - 17:44
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Sunioj on 07.07.2013 at 14:09

Ah, that's right. I think they're out of Fort Worth. Great stuff, the production is really good.

Yup, they're from the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) area. I live about 4 hours south in Houston. #TexasPride
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13.07.2013 - 15:35
Mage257
I listen to Thrash Metal since the mid 80's. To be honest it puts a smile on my face seeing bands like Havok carying on the flame started back then and taking on the legacy.

This isn't a simple job b/c we (the Old School guys) are hard to satisfy but, I think Havok is doing their stuff really good.

We should appreciate what these guys are doing b/c they brought Thrash Metal back to the table. W/o them we all still sit in our rooms listen to the good ol' stuff ... whining b/c our heros failed miserable with their newer stuff.

Unnatural Selection is a good one, not awesome but good. It's a bit slower but I'm fine w/ that. The guys are tight, all of 'em know how to play and they throw some cool riffs and good songs. Thanx for that \m/
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13.07.2013 - 16:31
D.T. Metal
Editor In Chief
Written by Mage257 on 13.07.2013 at 15:35

I listen to Thrash Metal since the mid 80's. To be honest it puts a smile on my face seeing bands like Havok carying on the flame started back then and taking on the legacy.

This isn't a simple job b/c we (the Old School guys) are hard to satisfy but, I think Havok is doing their stuff really good.

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30.09.2013 - 03:45
Guib
Thrash Talker
I agree that the bar was way too fucking high... but this album is solid, and personally I love it.

But to me this year's Thrash metal release goes to Crisix - Rise...Then Rest.
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- I love my technical, melodic, my thrash, agressive and fast paced, my sludge, well thought, my heavy, heavier and my metal, ever-growing -
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30.09.2013 - 09:43
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Guib on 30.09.2013 at 03:45

But to me this year's Thrash metal release goes to Crisix - Rise...Then Rest.

I'd probably have to agree. That album is fun as hell!
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30.09.2013 - 10:43
Daniell
No, you don't
I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.

When I want old thrash, I'll listen to old thrash bands and their albums. I feel no need to listen to copycats.
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Now loving:
Katatonia - Takeover
Kreator - World War Now
Ortega - Crows
Ahab - The Light In the Weed
Anaal Nathrakh - Depravity Favours the Bold
Dark Tranquillity - Encircled
Moonsorrow - Ihmisen Aika
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30.09.2013 - 15:20
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Daniell on 30.09.2013 at 10:43

I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.



colour-by-numbers thrash it indeed is. Remember how you used to do that when little? Such as this one? Gingerbread Man
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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30.09.2013 - 15:40
R'Vannith
ghedengi
I think they tried a few new tricks, "It Is True" sounds very Voivod-y for example. For the most part though it doesn't live up to their previous album.
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30.09.2013 - 16:23
psykometal
A staff guy...
Written by Daniell on 30.09.2013 at 10:43

I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.

When I want old thrash, I'll listen to old thrash bands and their albums. I feel no need to listen to copycats.

----
~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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30.09.2013 - 16:47
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by psykometal on 30.09.2013 at 16:23





oh yeah I forgot about metal by numbers by Brian, as take on colour by numbers.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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