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Havok - Statutes Of Sisyphus

Statutes Of Sisyphus
by Cameron Ervin at 01 July 2013, 2:05 PM

Ever have an album that may not click with you on the first listen, but after giving the record a second listen it starts to grow on you and you end up really enjoying said album? This is exactly what happened when I listened to HAVOK’s “Statutes of Sisyphus”. At first the overall tone and song structure just didn’t jive with me. The sound of the guitar is what really sounded the strangest on this record. Keep in mind this is a technical Death Metal album so I expected heavy down tuned guitars but they didn’t seem to be down tuned at all. Instead of relying on chugging riffs to fill the sections in between the technical fret work the bass carried the mix for the duration of the album. The bass is a major strength of this band; the bass lines are on the same level as the guitar when it comes to technicality and skill. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing such a strong bottom end in this type of music.

If anybody read my review of BEYOND CREATION’s “Aura” you’ll know how much I praised the bass section for being technically proficient and very competitive for the lead role of the mix on that album. However, the bass on “Statutes of Sisyphus” was not as strong or prominent in the mix; instead the bass on this album reminded me more of the bass in another technical Death Metal band I love DECREPIT BIRTH. The bass in these two bands (HAVOK and DECREPIT BIRTH) play a very important role in supporting the mix but don’t compete to take the spot light of the music. The tone of the guitar, as I mentioned previously, seemed somewhat out of place on my first play through. It wasn’t overbearingly down tuned like I expected and that caught me off guard. Listening to it again I realized it was a welcome change that made this sound so different than other bands of the same genre. While not possessing low tuning the guitar remains crunchy during the riffs but extremely warm, sharp, and clear on all technical solos and harmonies. Whenever the guitarists ventured through these complex passages their sound pierced through the rest of the music and commandeered the listener’s attention. With the complex guitar work, strong supporting bass, the percussionist has a lot to fill in his area and I am glad to say he does so very well. The intro to “The Glacial Face” really showcases his expertise and use of the entire set. It is easy to tell that the drummer actually enjoys his part in the music and adds vibrant characteristics to his playing. While the drumming is top notch the sound of the drums suffers a bit, the snare sounds a bit plastic-y and some of the cymbals were hard to hear. At this point I am nit-picking for these issues really don’t detract from the overall experience.  The vocalist sounds different as well. Yes, he employs the use of normal growls and screams but the growls aren’t guttural as one would expect. It’s quite difficult to explain the sound his vocals possess. The lower growls and higher screeches sound more airy is the only way I can think to describe them to you.

Variety in song structure is something this album can boast. The songs are very technical, almost taking on a progressive nature, ensuring no song sounds like the previous. At times this technicality can be over the top and a bit much for the listener to take in all at once. The music became so chaotic at times that it reminded me of something RINGS OF SATURN would play. Seven of the eight tracks are furious and brutal but the track “Vitruvian Ghost” is the opposite. This is an acoustic track that acts like a nice, just over the half way mark, breather. It helps break up the onslaught the rest of the tracks hurl towards the listener. Tracks like this really pace out the album making the experience more enjoyable. Overall HAVOK’s sophomore release is quite good and I hope they continue to charge ahead improving their sound and songwriting. My experience with this album was entertaining yet chaotic at some points. I’ll be sure to keep my eye on this band for any future material they create, as should you. 

4 Star Rating

1. Linear Existence
2. The Glacial Face
3. Grey Eyes Golden Skin
4. Cyrus the Great
5. Vitruvian Ghost
6. Carver of Lies
7. I Människans Närvaro
8. Unventured Thoughts
Andreas Johansson - Bass
Johan "Kroke" Cronqvist - Drums
Mahan Ahmadi - Guitars
Johan Bergström - Vocals
Miguel Cabrera – Guitars
Record Label: ViciSolum Productions


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