Havok
Conformicide


4.0
excellent

Review

by ThatDjentyFool USER (6 Reviews)
July 11th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Denver thrashers Havok bring their razor sharp A-game.

Despite the initial excitement regarding the thrash revival of the mid-to-late 2000s, in 2017 this somewhat minor shift in popular metal trends is unfairly sneered at for being derivative and unoriginal. However, brilliant retro thrash acts such as Havok prove that this seemingly dated form of metal can still be vital, and on Conformicide they also demonstrate how it can be cutting edge.

The taut, tight, high register guitar attack that guitarists David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs employ reads directly from the Megadeth hymn sheet, but there’s an undeniable and irresistible energy to their high-speed rhythmic assault. Straight forward thrashers like “Hang ‘Em High” and “F.P.C.” blast ahead like a rocket powered on pure adrenaline, yet the politically charged lyrics snarled and spat by Sanchez ensure that the tracks are by no means lightweight thrash by numbers. “Wake Up” in particular is filled with a venomous call to arms chorus that is addictively furious and catchy, especially when paired with a simple but effective guitar lead. Accompanied by Scruggs’ dazzling fretboard gymnastics and the intensity of Pete Webber’s drumming, every song is suitably propulsive and leaves the listener breathless. In spite of the lack of variation in this format across the album, the band execute this particular sound with verve and attitude- think of this as less a rollercoaster ride and more like being tied to the end of a turbo-charged drag racer.

Whilst this sounds like the kind of platitudes used for any old thrash act, Havok have a special ace up their sleeve that sets them apart from their peers. New bassist Nick Schendzielos (formerly of Cephalic Carnage and Job For A Cowboy) is such a highly accomplished musician who is never content to just sit behind the guitars and hide in the mix- his inventive, and at times downright funky, bass lines adds an extra layer to Havok’s sound that ensures they aren’t one-dimensional in the slightest. When Schendzielos steps into the spotlight and treats the listener to the tasty licks up his sleeve in “Claiming Certainty”, “Circling The Drain” and “Intention To Deceive”, the tracks develop a far more interesting character. Although his slap bass sections adds an extra punchiness to things, I would have liked to see him show off his ability to write melodic and memorable bass lines that could trade-off with the searing guitar solos to provide even more texture to the Havok formula.

Havok have shown on Conformicide that they certainly have what it takes to stand head and shoulders above their peers, whilst also crafting an album that simply stands up in its own right. Combining an exceptional quality of high-octane thrash lunacy with some exemplary musicianship has rewarded the band with a very strong body of work. Hopefully by further developing their idiosyncrasies and intricacies they can carve a niche for themselves beyond simply being Megadeth wannabes and become a heavyweight in their own right.



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user ratings (124)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
kingdedethefifth (4)
Thrash with bash....

PsychicChris (3.5)
Conformicide is a definite misnomer for Havok’s fourth album...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ThatDjentyFool
July 11th 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review was originally posted on my website thatdjentyfool.wordpress.com



As always any feedback is greatly appreciated

Dunpeal
July 11th 2017


4167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

tbh, i skimmed over the review, but it appears to be generally well written. I just couldn't follow it any deeper, because there is absolutely no case for this album being a 4.0. I'm far from a thrash aficionado, but this is def not a 4

Madbutcher3
July 11th 2017


1986 Comments


yeh I have absolutely no interest in this band anymore. feel like they've always been one of the most unexceptional modern thrash bands. it's like aside from vektor, black fast and maybe warbringer i don't see the point lmao

ThatDjentyFool
July 11th 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What didn't you like about about the album?

Madbutcher3
July 11th 2017


1986 Comments


I feel like the way they write riffs is very uninspired and nothing else is interesting enough to make up for it. With Vektor their writing style is way stranger and covers a lot more riffage range, whilst Warbringer sound closer to my favourite older thrash bands/add those neat little death metal and black metal tinges.

ThatDjentyFool
July 11th 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Admittedly Vektor are a more progressive minded band (I'm checking out LCD now and there's some definite nods to Death's later works), so I can see why Havok's comparatively stripped down approach isn't as impressive- but I think a simpler style isn't necessarily a bad thing.



Warbringer is an awesome shout out. Woe To The Vanquished is probably my favourite album of the year

Madbutcher3
July 11th 2017


1986 Comments


It's not even the more progressive style that necessarily appeals to me. Havok's songwriting is just less sophisticated and well thought out in my eyes.

Dunpeal
July 11th 2017


4167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this album is just pretty boring. i couldn't even listen this in the gym. it was putting me to sleep

Madbutcher3
July 11th 2017


1986 Comments


Yeh it just feels like nothing about it stands out enough, no great transitions or riffs

vermillionZ
July 11th 2017


54 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album always felt like it's building up to something that in the end never came. "intention to deceive" is the best example for that.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - In Contact

Evokaphile
July 11th 2017


6502 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This album gave me aids

Digging: Less Art - Strangled Light

ThatDjentyFool
July 11th 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What modern thrash albums do you recommend I should check out?

Dunpeal
July 11th 2017


4167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

again, i'm no aficionado, but when it comes to modern thrash, it seems there's really only 2 camps



those who innovate well and those those who replicate well



i tend to favor those who are pushing things forward, which Vektor was basically the main one doing that. Perhaps someone can also tell me of other good modern thrash bands that are innovating





Power Trip's latest release is a decent example of modern thrash that replicates well

RLWFormula
July 11th 2017


287 Comments


Time Is Up was pretty good imo

ThatDjentyFool
July 11th 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Power Trip's last one is ridiculously fun- I guess I just prefer bands that replicate that style well

Time Is Up is cool as well



Listening to Vektor's Outer Isolation now and it sounds like a mish mash of thrash, black metal and prog



Definitely interesting to say the least

parksungjoon
July 11th 2017


5507 Comments


"I feel like the way they write riffs is very uninspired and nothing else is interesting enough to make up for it. "

yep [2] hard this has literally been havok for their entire career



parksungjoon
July 11th 2017


5507 Comments


@dunpeal

95% of modern thrash fucking sucks i mean its compositionally extremely boring and generic

there's very few worthwhile bands other than vektor

and yea take this from someone whos heard like a thousand thrash records over the years

Madbutcher3
July 11th 2017


1986 Comments


Good "innovators": Vektor, Black Fast, I guess Revocation since they were part of the modern thrash wave

Good "replicators" (this category is rarely better than just pretty good but there's more of it): Witchery, Evil Army, Deathraiser, Dekapitator, Warbringer, Savage Messiah, Red Death

Ebola
July 11th 2017


2872 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Last year's Witchery record was outstanding

Dunpeal
July 11th 2017


4167 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

agree with everything said above





i'll have to check Black Fast. i'm always interested in any band trying to do their own thing with Thrash, even though it's almost impossible at this point. Thrash is just so narrow and confined to the 80s/early 90s that most stuff will just bleed into another style entirely, but let them keep trying



RIP Vektor ;_;



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