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Havok - Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 27 June 2013, 3:50 PM

The winds of change, maybe not today, not for this particular band from the US named HAVOK, one of the few sensations of the new age of Thrash. Thrash Metal, as one of the older genres in Metal music, has barely progressed, even with the appearance of the new wave of Thrash Metal hailing from the US and Europe. Well, at least this is my opinion about it. The respect for the elder gods of the genre, crossing the mighty Bay Area in the US and the European continent, carries on and on. A few exemplifications here and there indicates a few complexities and attempts of diversity, but most cases shows that Thrash is a meaning to pound mercilessly, channelling freedom along with every now and then political infused maniacal jolting. “Unnatural Selection”, haling as HAVOK’s number three release, also third under Candlelight Records, displays the band’s known traditional late 80s bag of tricks, but with a few twists that might designate a progress on their part, and believed me that it worked well for their benefit.

Other than my admiration for Thrash, especially those nasty mid tempo, palm muted power chords manifestations, inflicting heaviness upon my wretched ears ready for the next kick to be dragged into a course of chaos and insane consumption of hard biting Metal. “Unnatural Selection”, as a whole, did just that but also rose above its common demeanour and old school Thrash’s traditional stability into a slight progressed entity. Other than sounding similar to SLAYER, EXODUS, MUNICIPAL WASTE, OVERKILL and DESTRUCTION, I was able to come up with hints of early MORDRED and REANIMATOR, of course not the digitized stuffing and crappy sampling of the early 90s, but the coercive stuff that elevated the genre just a tad more near the genre’s decline process. “Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death”, showcased as a clear common Thrash banger, but its proceedings defied modernity, developing itself as a pure old school hit puncturing a few lungs in the process slapping political schemes. Even with reoccurring riffs, it displayed fine bass work by the band’s new guy, Michael Leon, which recently joined and quality gang vocals. Reece Scruggs dominated with his soloing effort, true 80s vision on those licks. The nail biter, “Under The Gun”, takes it a bit slower, one at the time with crazed assaults, a bit Punky at times, yet striking with a fine riff at setting of the chorus. “Chasing the Edge” also took the same mid tempo revelations with a few grooves, a pure old school kick in the ass, straightforward early METALLICA and HEATHEN along with various MEGADETH solo channelings. “It Is True”, the assorted one of the bunch of tracks, is HAVOK’s meaning for a different level other than their usual Thrash outcomes with a true heavy conspirator, but occupies hefty chorus action and bass work that really got me into the MORDRED attitude, a few divergent lines and 80s Heavy Metal riff selections including a spectacular soloing. Furthermore, HAVOK proved that they can pay a fine tribute to their personal gods, BLACK SABBATH, with the resurgence of the classic 70s Doomish smack of “Children of the Grave”, David Sanchez is no Ozzy but was able to take his place for this one with excellence, yet Michael Leon might as well challenge Geezer. On a personal note, a fine pick of a bass player, way to go guys.

On the other hand, I couldn’t share additional appreciations to the vast majority of the tracks of this release. Sure that HAVOK, as always, have been kicking and screaming their guts with Thrash’s brightest fury, asserting themselves as one of the strongest bands of the new wave of Thrash bands, but most of the other tracks weren’t that exciting of that worth mentioning as magical pieces of violence. “Unnatural Selection” is by all means an album to check out and endorse to one’s collection, but I would need a bit more spice in order to rate this work higher. I urge you the try this one out.


4 Star Rating

1. I Am the State
2. Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death
3. It Is True
4. Under The Gun
5. Waste of Life
6. Living Nightmare
7. Chasing the Edge
8. Worse than War
9. Children of the Grave (Black Sabbath Cover)
10. Unnatural Selection
David Sanchez - Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitars
Pete Webber - Drums
Reece Scruggs - Lead guitar / Vocals
Michael Leon - Bass / Vocals
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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