Released: 2011, Candlelight Records
Of the three thrash albums I reviewed this month (Attackhead, Tuck From Hell and Havok) Havok is the most musically proficient and fastest of the bunch. This is the second full-length studio for these dudes from Denver, Colorado. They had a couple of demos, an EP, an indie album and then Candlelight picked them up. It’s a bit of an odd fit as Candlelight tends to be a bit darker, progressive and avante-garde record label but they have a great ear for talent and are starting to dabble in thrash.
Havok enlisted James Murphy for production duties and this album sounds amazing! The guitars are razor-sharp and everything is loud and upfront. TIME IS UP also sports a classic thrash-style cover of a skeletal judge-dude bringing down the thrash hammer of justice! Again the thrash world owes a debt to Ed Repka because this cover is very similar in style.
TIME IS UP is a very fast and frantic thrash album. Lots and lots of speed but they find that really sharp-edge between being super-tight and having the whole thing come off the rails. Originality is not really the main goal but delivery and execution of a classic thrash sound is. I imagine some people who are already growing tired of the retro-thrash revolution may not appreciate what is being presented by Havok, but I do. I’ll take a well-executed example of a style, performed with intensity and passion over originality any day. The scream at the 2:40(ish) mark of the track DOA is a dead ringer for those of Tom Araya. It’s so close it might even be the legendary vocalist on a guest scream! Regardless, a good scream is a good scream!
Keeping this review, short and sweet (like the album at 10 cuts, 40 minutes) Havok is firmly lumped into the thrash resurgence and in 10 years of the dozens of bands in the wave we will see if HAVOK make it. I predict they will and if they don't, I'll always have this record to enjoy.