Havok - V review



Reviewer:
6.7

135 users:
8.00
Band: Havok
Album: V
Release date: May 2020


01. Post-Truth Era
02. Fear Campaign
03. Betrayed By Technology
04. Ritual Of The Mind
05. Interface With The Infinite
06. Dab Tsog
07. Phantom Force
08. Cosmetic Surgery
09. Panpsychism
10. Merchants Of Death
11. Don't Do It


One of the leading lights in the thrash revival scene, Denver's Havok have rode their talents to the tip of the resurgent wave of thrash. Following up on 2017's mis-fire Conformicide is V, a return to form of sorts, but not the return to their place atop the wave they rode as their personal vehicle for much of their career thus far. Keeping the lyrical focus of prior, the band rein in their experimental aspects somewhat and streamline them to create an album aimed at their fans of old, as well as those who were picked up following Conformicide, with the resulting V. An album that is still expansive by thrash standards, but for Havok it is a more concise sonic attack.

The band are still up there with some of the better musicians in the scene; while they burn through bass players with an alarming rate, newcomer Bruce picks up where predecessors left off and gives V the trademark bass work, adding depth and flavor to tracks like "Panpsychism". Scruggs and Sanchez play well and with precision but ultimately little more than that; while everything sounds good, it is not very memorable.

The band do offer up an album of good but not great tracks; nothing will have you throwing down your headphones or forsaking the name Havok to the heavens. The album runs through smoothly and while it doesn't make you stop out of frustration, it doesn't make you stop in awe either. "Fear Campaign", "Panpsychism" and "Merchants Of Death" are the highlights of the bunch; while they aren't the brightest spots in the band's career, they will be welcome additions to any future set list by the band.

What hinders V is the lack of strong hooks, where before the band created searing and memorable riffs, the songs here play out with little to really stick in your mind except an imprecise gist of what the track sounded like on later recollections. The riffs aren't bad, but they are a far cry from Time Is Up, let alone Unnatural Selection. When the most memorable riffs remind you of someone else, i.e. Metallica with riffs in "Post Truth Era" and "Ritual Of The Mind". it does add credence to this idea.

Add into this the lyrics which, although they aren't bad and show a level of thought and precision, are in part undermined by the vocal delivery, which makes them come off a lot like Megadeth on Dystopia; akin to someone raving on a street corner yelling while waving a placard. Taking their cues from George Orwell and Phillip K. Dick, Havok jump the shark somewhat and while it does not ruin the album, it does distract you from the music. Like the raving of a madman on a corner, too much is said and in such a manner that everything bounces off you and nothing memorable remains. Take "Cosmetic Surgery" for example: all I can remember lyrically is the gang chants of "Truth Lies". If I had to sing the rest of the song I could mumble something similar but not word for word; think Bad Religion but not as well done.

While I have been a fan of Havok for years, I find myself underwhelmed by V and unable to sink my teeth into it. The album finds itself in a weird purgatory of sorts; it isn't bad but it isn't good either, and even with repeated listens for the want of it endearing itself to my ears I find myself shrugging my shoulders. It is a step in the right direction though and one that is at least strong enough to keep your attention should it serve as a stepping stone to something better that may come next.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written by omne metallum | 23.06.2020


 


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 85 users
23.06.2020 - 09:33
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Good review.

I'm amazed that you didn't notice two major flaws here - the extreme detachment of song structures and poor momentum shift between songs.
----
Loading...
23.06.2020 - 09:47
nikarg
Mod
Quote:
while everything sounds good, it is not very memorable

This.

Quote:
while it doesn't make you stop out of frustration, it doesn't make you stop in awe either

And this.
Loading...
23.06.2020 - 14:50
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Is the "thrash revival scene" still even a thing? Seems to have largely burnt out as far as I know. It seemed to peak from like the late 2000s to early 2010s and bands like Warbringer, Skeletonwitch, Bonded By Blood, and Toxic Holocaust put out some solid stuff but they all more or less fizzled out quality wise later down the line. I recall Havok coming a little later but from what you're saying in this review, it seems that they've more or less lost their luster too.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
23.06.2020 - 19:19
musclassia
Written by Apothecary on 23.06.2020 at 14:50

Is the "thrash revival scene" still even a thing? Seems to have largely burnt out as far as I know. It seemed to peak from like the late 2000s to early 2010s and bands like Warbringer, Skeletonwitch, Bonded By Blood, and Toxic Holocaust put out some solid stuff but they all more or less fizzled out quality wise later down the line. I recall Havok coming a little later but from what you're saying in this review, it seems that they've more or less lost their luster too.


Yeah, when I was getting into metal around the turn of the decade (2009, 2010, 2011), the likes of Evile, Warbringer, Hatchet, Vektor, Havok, and more were all either on the up or reaching the peak of their popularity. Maybe it's because I was really into the sound then and it mostly bores me to tears now, but I feel like the late 2000s was the peak of the thrash revival, and at this point a lot of those bands are struggling to maintain their popularity, without there being a similar next wave coming through.
Loading...
23.06.2020 - 20:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 23.06.2020 at 19:19


Yeah, when I was getting into metal around the turn of the decade (2009, 2010, 2011), the likes of Evile, Warbringer, Hatchet, Vektor, Havok, and more were all either on the up or reaching the peak of their popularity. Maybe it's because I was really into the sound then and it mostly bores me to tears now, but I feel like the late 2000s was the peak of the thrash revival, and at this point a lot of those bands are struggling to maintain their popularity, without there being a similar next wave coming through.

The last time I was excited for a thrash revivalist album were the last Vektor and Iron Reagan albums
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
23.06.2020 - 23:58
IH8Hipsters
I liked this album quite a bit. Not my favorite from Havok but I think it's a good album. 6.7 is a little too low. I think it's better than Warbringers latest. I love both bands and would give the edge to Havok on this one. Maybe a 7.8 for me. It's not groundbreaking, but I just like their style.
Loading...
24.06.2020 - 00:02
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by RaduP on 23.06.2020 at 20:34

The last time I was excited for a thrash revivalist album were the last Vektor and Iron Reagan albums

I'd be a lot more excited about the movement if there were more bands among it that took influence from the weirder side of thrash. Less Kreator/Exodus worship and more Voivod/Sadus worship.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
24.06.2020 - 09:50
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by IH8Hipsters on 23.06.2020 at 23:58

I think it's better than Warbringers latest.


Warbringer new is far better than this in terms of quality, momentum, speed, song structure and appeal.
----
Loading...

Hits total: 858 | This month: 73