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Havok – Conformicide

by JOGANEGAR at 23 March 2017, 4:58 PM

In a manner of speaking, Thrash Metal in its purest form has a wide assortment of tendencies (sub-sub-genres??? Is that even a word?). There is that special variety that seems to fit the compromise, that most death metal loving fans usually under go, to stay true to a dogmatic and almost tyrannical sense of what a genre should be, channeling aggression and disapproval to any apex of change or innovation, almost as a religious fundamentalist would do; My uncle was like that towards Death Metal, I hate to admit it but I did the same when it came to NuMetal, and probably we have all been “that” guy, when it came to experiencing a new interpretation of what we once thought was perfect enough to avoid any evolution. On the other hand there is a constant and relentless effort from artists to put their talent and their god given ideas (as some ancient cultures thought) in countless hours for us simple mortals to enjoy.

The first reference I ever had from HAVOK was a younger version of me trying to convince myself to listen to a new band after being faithful to the originators and foremost sponsors of Thrash Metal from both the Bay Area and Bavaria at the same time for as long as I can remember. As the years went by the name HAVOK kept popping up from time to time, as one of the most determined carriers of the Thrash Metal flame. Now, as my older, and perhaps not that wiser self I receive their fourth album “Conformicide” as a holistic message to return to that rebellious attitude that this sub-genre of metal has always stood for, at least in that ever long quest to reach resolution in every aspect of our everyday lives; Or maybe I just liked this album too much, you be the judges.

The intro seems like something out of the mind of Wagner himself, Peter "Peavy" Wagner, not Richard Wagner of course, and the bass lines and the manner in which they are executed depict a well versed and seasoned musician and for those of us that seem to have been living in a cave since 2015 when it comes to current band lineups, the proficient Nick Schendzielos who has been working with HAVOK since the middle of that year, depicts an amazing performance on this album; showing the perfect level of maturity to become a long time member of Havok for sure, and still having time to play with JOB FOR A COWBOY and CHEPALIC CARNAGE, a one a kind innovative performer with Metal carved in the very core of his DNA, if you don’t believe me or think I might be exaggerating, just listen to the opening track and exactly at the one minute and seven seconds mark or to “Circling the drain” the tenth track and seven minute long song on this album at the three minutes and forty seconds mark and I know you will remember reading this very lines, and you won’t forget them for the rest of the experience. HAVOK prove to be some of the most talented mature metal musicians alive today with an already full schedule for touring this year and the next.

The very first track might have been reason enough for me to drop all the unimportant crap I was doing in order to start living a little, but I remembered I have to eat, and a salary rules my adult life now, “Hang ‘em high” reminded all of us through the words in their haunting chorus: “The enemy is not coming from overseas” with the existence of that timeless maxim which essentially serves as a metaphor of how we most of the times look for enemies abroad when our most vicious foe usually turns out to be living under the premises of our own land of our very own self.

The news anchor at the intro of “Intention to deceive” is an example of innovative and unquestionable production and mastery, literally saying:
“Good evening, I’m Lie a Lot, and in the news today we cover trivial stories to distract you from what is really going on in the world; it’s five o’ clock, and here’s what we want you know” before delivering one a bone crunching five minute and forty two second prototype of contemporary thrash metal to please to the multiple and ever changing taste of today’s Metalheads, displaying a tendency towards technical death metal that continues throughout “Ingsoc” and across the whole album assembling a PANTERA  cover in one of their final tracks without ever leaving the full on criticism of today’s western way of life, adding up to the already pleasant experience of listening to a relatively recent band displaying an artistic style of their own through the mastery of their craft.

I have to confess this album had me staring at the far end of my closet; scanning for my battle best wondering if all the junk food and conformity have made me unfit, but most of all unworthy of wearing it once again; with that uncertainty that comes after remembering the lyrics that had me turn my attention towards Thrash Metal in the first place, Of corporations and governments profiting and proliferating from making us mindless consuming zombies, I hear it’s only a conspiracy theory for paranoids and insecure people striving away from success, or maybe just maybe, Thrash has been trying to tell us something for the last thirty something years, who knows?

HAVOK delivers an impressive new album with its current multitalented line up keeping a well secured place in this year’s festivals as well as a full scheduled world tour. If fortune favors the bold, David Sanchez will surely keep up the good work with HAVOK, and hopefully we will have a new record before the passing of time requires so. A work of metal positioning well deserved for a hard working band like this Colorado natives; hope to catch them in my city soon.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. F.P.C.
2. Hang 'Em High
3. Dogmaniacal
4. Intention to Deceive
5. Ingsoc
6. Masterplan
7. Peace Is In Pieces
8. Claiming Certainty
9. Wake Up
10. Circling The Drain
11. Slaughtered (Pantera cover)
David Sanchez – Guitar, Vocals
Reece Scruggs – Guitar
Nick Schendzielos – Bass
Pete Webber – Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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