Remember the days when music used to have some kind of aggression towards the normal and mundane of everyday life of conformity? Everyone is dressing, speaking, and even thinking the same. It can literally numb the senses to some human rights which we never knew which are robbed of like free speech and the removal of censorship. From the old muckrakers back in the day exposing the dangers of child labor in the factories, this type of political awareness has taken many forms and music has become the biggest medium to voice opinions on such issues. In the metal world, the genre that comes to mind being the most activist driven is no other than the monstrous force of thrash! Taking the most controversial subject matter in the media and turning it into an audio masterpiece can be difficult. There is one band in the modern age of metal that pulls no punches when creating such volatile music, I am speaking of which the beast from Colorado, Havok. With their new album dubbed Conformicide, it is time to break down the system with this album review. Get ready for one hell of a ride!
Being the band’s forth studio album, Conformicide, delivers one of the best modern thrash albums to come out so far in 2017. Along with Kreator’s Gods of Violence (released via Nuclear Blast) and Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic ( released via Southern Lord), Havok’s latest release is adding their own special flavor to the genre. The boys did extremely well with their 2013’s release Unnatural Selection (via Candlelight). With it getting such great reviews from the old schoolers and new fans to the thrash genre, the band is showing absolutely no signs of taking the foot off the gas pedal. The album starts off with “F.P.C,” a rebellious hymn against the horrors of censorship and loss of free speech. The song starts off with a very funky bass line from Nick Schendzielos and a beautiful acoustic guitar riff which helps to set you up for a major beating of your senses. Combined with the groove induced drumming of Pete Webber, you will find yourself protesting in front of your local government building in no time flat with your faded battle vest as your flag of anarchy.
My personal favorite track on Conformicide, which goes for the throat with jaws wide open, without a shadow of a doubt is “Dogmaniacal”. If you want something that is heavy and speaks about how the modern world is these days, look no further. This track addresses the violent nature between the different religious sects in such a way you can feel the anger run through you body as the violent chugging with hypnotic shredding from both David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs on guitar unmasks an ugly truth of human life. I listened to this song the most as it is the most addicting piece on the album in my honest opinion. There has been many times I was in the break room at work giving myself whiplash, but hey if this song doesn’t cause you to become a wind-turbine, I have no idea what will! In the next couple weeks I can this song being the favorite among the other tracks on this release; Sweet!
Indeed the band first two albums Burn (released 2009 via Candlelight and Time Is Up (released 2011 via Candlelight), had their own type of style that differs from the band’s last two releases, but this album does have a great set of songs that combines both eras of the band styles. Tracks like “Intention to Deceive” and “Masterplan” combine the shredding aspects of Burn and Time Is Up with the more grooved oriented workings of Unnatural Selection, it will be ear candy for the fans who want the best of both worlds! This album for me is my favorite from the guys of Havok. I have not stop listening to it since I got it at the Soundgarden in downtown Syracuse, NY. If you think thrash is dead guess again! With Conformicide you are getting the same aggression the forefathers created in the 80’s, but with more of a powerful message as well a new approach. The thrash revival moment is gaining strength bands like Havok making waves leading the charge. Time to thrash one more time!
I will give this album 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. It is a solid album from start to finish. If you have not picked it up yet you can get from your local record store or at the band’s page. Keep on thrashing!
Key Tracks: Dogmanicial, F.P.C, Masterplan