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Havok – Time is Up: Review

The American thrashers Havok is to release their second full-length album on March 29. It is named Time is Up and is to be released through Candlelight Records. I have not been a huge fan of many newer thrash bands, but Havok have most certainly won me over. Time is Up is one of the best thrash albums I have heard in recent years, and holds its ground even to those universally renowned classics as Ride the Lightning and Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?.

The Music (rating: A)

  1. Prepare for Attack
  2. Fatal Intervention
  3. No Amnesty
  4. D.O.A.
  5. Covering Fire
  6. Killing Tendencies
  7. Scumbag in Disguise
  8. The Cleric
  9. Out of My Way
  10. Time is Up

With Time is Up, you get a straightforward thrash album of high quality. It has tempos ranging from fast to blistering and guitar riffs that never let up. The vocals are a growly cross between singing and screaming, closer to the latter than the former. Despite being a new album for a new band, this record has a surprisingly pleasant vintage sound that has a nostalgic resemblance to the 80’s. One can surely call this a thrash revival album.

An issue with many thrash albums is that they can (and often do) run dry before the finish line. That is absolutely not the case with Time is Up. The album never extends beyond the boundaries of thrash metal, yet still is able to keep the record interesting for the full duration. The riffs cover the entire spectrum of thrash at its finest, whether it is the more melodic side or the more beautiful, chaotic extreme. Basically, one can get nearly everything they need from the thrash genre with this single album.

But despite the unwavering thrash approach, everything still comes together wonderfully from the individual band member performance to the overall songwriting. No song on Time is Up forces a verse-chorus-bridge structure, nor does it unnaturally implement a more complex one; it’s all smooth-sailing. The riffs are excellent and well pieced together to surprise you at some times or to fully satisfy your expectations at others. The vocals are quite well done and fit perfectly with the band’s sound. On the support-side, the bass is very heavy and strong, and at times comes out to the front with a bang. The drums are fantastic and are, in my opinion, the strongest part of the album. Not only is the incredibly technicality with the rhythms and fills commendable, but also the transitioning on the drummers behalf is praiseworthy to say the least. Going from section to section, or even progressing through a section, is noticeably unnoticeable. And the cymbal chokes are monstrously powerful and with impeccable placement. Although the drums stood out most to me with this album, everything from the instrumentalists to the musicianship was of the finest thrash has to offer.

If there is a band that is capable of restoring one’s faith in the thrash metal genre, Havok definitely showed themselves to be that band with Time is Up. There is huge potential with this band, as shown by their excellent musicianship and their instrumental capability. This record is undoubtedly one of the best thrash albums I have heard in a long time. I certainly hope that in time, these relative newcomers will transcend the thrash genre, and put out an amazing genre-breaking album. If this is their Ride the Lightning, I can’t wait to hear their Master of Puppets.

PS: Other anologies include the following:

Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? – Rust in Peace
Number of the Beast – Powerslave
Epica – Black Halo
Frizzle Fry – Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Night of the Stormrider – Burnt Offerings
Blood Mountain – Crack the Skye

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