American thrash metal act, HAVOK, are back in 2017 with a new album entitled “Conformicide”, which is their debut release via Century Media Records, and while some critics already named it one of the heaviest albums of the year, I’m not so quick to give these guys that kind of immense praise. Sure, this album don’t suck… but come on, calling it a masterpiece is a lie to hard working people. Don’t get me wrong. The effort is good.. and so is the pissed off energy. That’s exactly what thrash needs more of. Frontman David Sanchez on lead vocals and rhythm guitar rips through the first several tracks with an absolutely vicious demeanor.
Kicking off with the above average cut “F.P.C.”, for me the party really gets started thanks to the balls to the walls “Hang ‘Em High. The listener is taken on a pit starting adventure. The only question is are they able to keep it up? Up next is the chaotic “Dogmaniacal” and “Intention to Deceive”. The drumming by Pete Webber is stellar, and guitarist Reece Scruggs throws down some cool riffs. Although not exactly on the level of late SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman or the guitar work you’ll hear in OVERKILL, but with each album I am definitely liking what this band is jamming more and more. Hopefully, they’ll get even more heavy and pissed off. My only problem with the vocals is most the time I thought I was listening to Zetro from Exodus. Maybe next time switch up your vocal style or stop trying to be a clone of a legend. The following tracks keep the momentum going in a rampaging manner, “Ingsoc”, “Masterplan” and “Peace Is in Pieces” My personal favorite is track eight. It’s titled “Claiming Certainty” and it hauls ass the fastest, that’s what I expect from a thrash metal band. “Wake UP” is my second favorite song. The shindig concludes with one of the album’s strongest tunes and is a total denouncement of the US government, entitled “Circling The Drain”. Cool bass line on that one from four string thumper Nick Schendzielos. However, on this song the vocalist sounds like he is ripping off Dave Mustaine.
This group has a ton of talent, and could develop into something really special. But I’m not going to
rank this album in my top 10 of 2017. That being said, I think it’s still certainly worth the purchase.
HAVOK – “Conformicide” (CD)
2. Hang ‘Em High
4. Intention to Deceive
7. Peace Is in Pieces
8. Claiming Certainty
9. Wake Up
10. Circling the Drain