Review Summary: Not the ray of hope it might have appeared in 2011, Time Is Up is still a fairly enjoyable modern thrash album with some great songs and amplified technicality.
2011 was perhaps the apex of popularity of the retro-thrash revival, with Warbringer's Worlds Torn Asunder, Vektor's Outer Isolation and Havok's Time Is Up all springing up and achieving reasonable acclaim. Of the three, Time Is Up has certainly aged the worst, but is still fairly enjoyable and vastly superior to the band's following efforts.
Havok's 2011 outing certainly exhibits the usual retro-thrash standard palm muted riffing and crossover influences, but it carries just a bit more energy, originality and technicality than most of them. The extremely crisp production works wonders for the band's sound as it provides a lot of chunk and slicing ferocity to the guitars. Further strengthening that solid sonic foundation is a generally urgency to most of the tracks; tracks like Scumbag In Disguise
and Fatal Intervention
waste no time in getting to their best riffs and as such manage to build a lot of momentum early, managing to be more accessible as a result. The sheer speed of some of the riffs also helps differentiate them from "generic thrash riff #1652", along with the healthy doses of melody in tracks like D.O.A.
and Prepare for Attack
, resulting in a more technical and nuanced listening experience than most similar albums.
The core problem here is a lack of variety. Even the slower tracks like The Cleric
build to the same fast sections displayed elsewhere, and the song structures themselves are unchanging throughout for the most part. Whilst Time Is Up gets good results from its core formula, it misses greatness by sticking to it so closely, a problem that continues through to the band's following albums.