The aptly named V is the fifth full length album by Colorado thrashers Havok. V continues down the path the band started on with its fourth album Conformicide. These two most recent albums break away from an underlying punk/hardcore influence presented in the band’s first three full length albums and replaces it with a more polished, tighter approach in their instrumentation, songwriting and overall production.
V as a whole is a well thought out, calculated, pinpoint strike at its listener’s ears. Looking at the layout and song order, it’s quite clear that Havok spent time in their war room plotting the advancement of their forces. The album starts with “Post Truth-Era“. Havok cleverly deployed a tactic Metallica used on their rabble rouser “Blackened”. A quiet guitar musing that slowly fades in and builds up volume so that it almost overcomes the listener, is abruptly thrown to the wayside for thrashy drums and a rhythm guitar’s punchy riff. It’s a dirty trick that will get a pit spinning and add fuel to any combustable crowd. Great first song choice.
This album is a good mix of what fans come to expect from a thrash album, but it also shows Havok’s own unique twist on things. They take a proven musical recipe and spice it up with some new flavors. For the thrash zealot in his white high tops, skinny jeans and threadbare battle vest there is plenty of familiar lyrical content featuring apocalyptic prophecies, politically/socially charged conspiracy theories, and a general anti-government, anti-media sentiment. Anyone digging and sifting through the common thrash conventions searching for exciting new nuggets of metal, will find a surprisingly insightful use of slap bass that brings an underlying funky percussiveness to the album.
The song writing is strong and pungent while still maintaining the thrash sound. ”Betrayed by Technology” starts with a clever guitar call and response back and forth that is interjected by the bass guitar, then unfolds into a heavy thrash punch. The song shifts, advances, breaks down and revisits previously established motifs. It is a shining example of how Havok has progressed and matured as dynamic songwriters and talented musicians. It seems as though they no longer view themselves as a thrash or heavy metal band, but view themselves as Havok. It is an ever mounting challenge for bands to define the musical genres they reside in, not to be defined by them.
Often times bands creating and existing in an older, well defined, and arguably previously mastered genre come across about as authentic as diet soda. Sure it looks the same, it’s bubbly, it’s brown, it comes in a brightly colored can, but it tastes fake and artificial. These diet soda bands are disappointing and make one feel like they should have just gone with the originals that are proven, tasty, and did it right the first time. If you are going to drink a soda, drink a soda, diet is for suckers. V is not diet soda, it’s real. Havok is real.
Out on May 1st via Century Media Records.
- Post-Truth Era
- Fear Campaign
- Betrayed By Technology
- Ritual Of The Mind
- Interface With The Infinite
- Dab Tsog
- Phantom Force
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Merchants Of Death
- Don’t Do It