*Rant mode ON*

You know, I love thrash, and when this whole thrash resurgence came about, I was pretty damn excited. But truth be told, I’m flat out tired of it now. Why? Because the labels won’t stop signing every last one of them they find. Every label has to have one in order to “compete”, and some have several, such as Earache. Granted, the “revival” has given me a couple of my newer favorites, such as Skeletonwitch, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Blood Tsunami, Municipal Waste and Hyades, but I’m left neutral and/or unimpressed with pretty much all the rest. Right about now I’d imagine some of you are thinking “but what about all those glowing reviews you wrote for the likes of Hatchet, Warbringer, Evile or Fueled by Fire?” Legitimate question, easily answered – I thoroughly enjoyed them at the time of the review, but looking back, I’ve had no desire to go back and listen to any of them after the review. The fact that as soon as I get a hold of one, there’s another one right there waiting, and each one seems to be a touch more generic sounding than the last doesn’t bode well for wanting to go back and hear the ones prior. There’s nothing particularly wrong with any of them, and they’re not terrible, but it’s just all the same sounding from band to band – they’re all culling influence from the same places, and going the carbon copy route – there’s nothing to make one standout from another.

*Rant mode OFF*

So now, I have yet another new old school thrash album on my hands. Burn is the debut full length from Denver, Colorado natives Havok. There’s really nothing about it that’s anything different than what I’m complaining about in the rant above. There’s the standard Bay Area influence present, as wells as a touch of the East Coast sound as well. Vocally, David Sanchez has a pretty standard thrash delivery on the clean side, but a little rougher and grit filled. Sanchez also splits guitar duties with Shawn Chavez, and together they are pretty solid if unspectacular. A couple highlights that caught my attention was the solo work in “Identity Theft”, and some of the riffs in both “The Disease” and “Scabs of Trust”. Outside of these moments, the material is rather unremarkable and forgettable in a sea of like minded bands.

On a positive note, I love the production on this one. It’s crisp and clean, but not overly slick, and it still echoes the vibe of 80’s thrash production. The bass really jumps out at you without dominating the sound, complimenting the guitar work, as it should be.

There’s really nothing wrong or bad about Havok – they play pretty solid and competent thrash that can be enjoyable, but ultimately, If I (or anyone else) wants to hear some quality thrash, this isn’t it. There are several better choices out there.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
August 16th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Red

    Spot on review all the way. Man, you summed up exactly how I feel about most the new thrash out there. You even gave a nod to the ones that are out there doing something more fun and entertaining(Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Skeletonwitch, Blood Tsunami, etc… I’ve even been enjoying the new Swashbuckle alot). Anyways, really good review.

  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    I feel just about the same although I wouldn’t have gone so far to say nice things about the likes of say Warbringer in the first place. I’d recommend for you to check out Evil Army, Sauron (the one from Michigan), Bastardator and Trench Hell. Now there are some new thrash bands I can speak positively of, especially Sauron!

  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Hey, thanks for the nice words guys, and thanks for the recs Vugel. I’m familiar with Trench Hell already, and they’re pretty good, but I need to spend more time with them. I’ve also heard of Sauron, but haven’t heard their stuff yet – I’ll be sure to check ’em out along with the others.

  4. Commented by: krustster

    Honestly I agree with the first part of this review, but not the second part. I think the “THRASH REVIVAL MOVEMENT” is kinda stupid, but Havok is one of the few bands that does it for me, along with Hexen and Lazarus AD. I’m surprised that you weren’t blasted by such hot tracks as “Morbid Symmetry” and also “Melting the Mountain”.

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