(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new fourth album by Colorado’s Havok, which was released by Century Media earlier this month.)
I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Havok. These guys are the quintessential example of what an excellent re-thrash band sounds like. Old school energy and attitude, but new school song-writing, technicality, and slight tinges of hybridization with other borrowed styles.
Thus far, Havok’s got what I call a pretty flawless discography. The EPs, while underdeveloped, were great; Time Is Up was the best thrash album of its year; and the band’s last release Unnatural Selection was definitely up there in its year, too.
It’s been four years since Havok released anything, marking the first time the band have gone more than two years between major releases since their inception. While they’ve certainly been gaining recognition (rightfully so) and touring like fucking madmen, the band have clearly been working on their sound, and where to go from here.
(TheMadIsraeli is in catch-up mode, reviewing five albums in this one post. You’ll find music from all the albums at the end.)
Welcome to power hour, the thing I do when I try to catch up on shit I should’ve reviewed long ago. It’s called power hour not because it’s an hour of music, but because it’ll take you a fucking hour to read the shit.
Sometimes we miss things here at NCS, and often enough I feel like an asshole for doing it, especially when I’m the guy who would normally cover the stuff we miss. So this is my attempt to reconcile. Five reviews in one, baby, deal with it.
As such though, I thought I’d make this themed, so it’s the thrash power hour. Let’s start with a relative newcomer…
(Our man in the UK, Andy Synn, witnessed a night of death metal fun in Manchester on May 15 and files this report, with video.)
Tonight’s show was courtesy of my good friend Gary of Bite Radius Designs, who recently did some work for Cephalic Carnage on their Crucifreak t-shirt design. Thanks to him we were both put on guestlist and got a chance to enjoy a night of heavy, techy, thrashy, grindy, pummelling death metal fun.
Opening band Fallujah were the youngest and most inexperienced band on the bill, but still gave it their best shot at warming up the steadily growing crowd. Unfortunately, although their spacey, technical death metal works incredibly well on record, it lacks a little something live.
The mix didn’t help their cause, with the rhythm guitar and bass almost entirely inaudible, leaving the band to contend with a mix consisting purely of vocals, leads, and drums. Thankfully, the proggy, cosmic guitar leads are one of the band’s biggest strengths and offer a captivating glimpse of the band’s future potential. They just need to work on a bit more of a distinctive identity for themselves beyond this one aspect of their sound.
(BadWolf and friends took in the show at Detroit’s Magic Stick co-headlined by Corrosion of Conformity and Skeletonwitch on November 16 and provides this review, with pics by Nick Vechery.)
I go to so many concerts that I forget live music is a celebration. When a band plays, the audience takes on a responsibility to express great feeling—vocally, physically, and of course through liver deterioration. It is easier to have a good time at a show not only when the bands are good, but when there is an occasion to celebrate. In the case of Corrosion of Conformity and Skeletonwitch’s co-headlining show, my wolf pack and I had much to celebrate.
My longstanding photographer and concert partner, Sir Nick Vechery, just celebrated his one year anniversary with his wonderful Significant Other, Whitney. [HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, GUYS!] Her gift to him? Skeletonwitch tickets. At the same time, we celebrated our first year of reporting for No Clean Singing. We loaded my car up with some Pabst and Toledo arts reporter Ian Hubbard, and trekked to The Magic Stick.
The Magic Stick boasts a fine bar, plenty of room, a loud stereo, and a huge second-story smoking patio with a gorgeous view of metro Detroit. The venue sits on top of a bowling alley, another bar, and a snack shoppe (the pizza was quite delicious, if a bit greasy). It stands as one of the finest venues I’ve ever visited, and I highly recommend that any NCS readers with the opportunity to spend money there do so. In the past two months I’ve seen four concerts there and cannot wait to return.
Thanks to Black Shuck for the tip on this news item. I’d seen the news about this tour last week before any details were available, but now we’ve got the schedule.
Three-quarters of this line-up get me hot and bothered — the quarters that consist of Death Angel, Krisiun, and Havok. I’ve been lucky enough to see Death Angel before, and I can testify that they are a blast to hear and watch. Krisiun is, well, Krisiun — some death metal heroes of mine that I’ve been hoping to see for years (and who ought to be at the top of this tour instead of a “support” act). And Havok is one of the few new thrash bands whose music doesn’t make me yawn after a while.
And that leaves Krisiun’s countrymen in Sepultura. If this were the Sepultura of the Cavalera brothers at their peak, the band that created albums like Arise, that would be one thing. But it’s not. I was so underwhelmed by A-Lex (2009) that I didn’t even listen to last year’s Kairos. Maybe that was a mistake, because I’ve since heard that it was a big step up (was it?). So, while I may not yet be hot and bothered by the idea of seeing Sepultura, I’m at least interested, and this tour will give me an excuse to see what Kairos is all about before it hits Seattle.
Yes, it’s coming to Seattle, and to 18 more cities in the U.S. and Canada (though it seems to be spurning the entire southern half of the U.S.). The schedule is after the jump.
Here are a couple of things I saw at the end of last week that I thought were worth sharing: a drum-cam video of Pete Webber, the talented drummer of Denver’s Havok, doing his thing and a new song from Sweden’s Cipher System, doing their thing. What Havok and Cipher System are both doing in these clips is kicking butt, metaphorically speaking (though my butt actually did feel like it had been kicked after these two songs).
PETE WEBBER / HAVOK
Havok is one of the few current-generation thrash bands who I can get into without reservation. They’ve got hell-on-wheels riffage, nasty throat-scraping vocals, and — yes — a drummer who’s worth isolating with your ears as Havok’s songs barrel through your cranium. Havok will be touring parts of the US and Canada in October and November along with Exhumed, Goatwhore, and Cephalic Carnage. I would knock down doors to see that show — if it were only coming to Seattle, but the farthest west this tour is venturing is Flagstaff, Arizona (Flagstaff? Really?). Sigh. (You can find the schedule here.)
In the drum cam video we’ve got for you right after the jump, Pete Webber plays through a Havok song called “Time Is Up”. It was premiered late last week by Sick Drummer Magazine. This isn’t your usual drum-cam video, with a camera fixed down by the kick pedals and another one looking over the drummer’s shoulder. In this pro-quality footage, there are multiple, shifting camera angles of Webber against a black background. Fun to watch, and “Time Is Up” is a badass song.
Welcome to the first, and possibly last, edition of a feature we’re calling OLD SCHOOL / NEW SCHOOL. I usually run on at the mouth in introducing posts around here, but for this one, I’m just gonna let you figure out the theme for yourselves. Given the title we’re using for this series, it seemed fitting to begin with the following contrast. (Don’t worry, there will be music after the jump.)
(yeah, more after the jump . . .)