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Album Reviews : Havok – Conformicide

By on June 2, 2017

Conformicide is the 4th studio album from the American Thrash band Havok. In my opinion Havok are one of the better new wave thrash bands. Their sound is definitely ‘thrash’ but they have a little bit more going on than most. If I was going to try to summarise Havok’s sound I’d say that they are like a melting pot of classic ‘Big 4’ thrash with a hint of early progressive death metal – it’s a unique sound for sure; a hybrid of Megadeth, Exodus & Atheist perhaps? What ever the case Conformicide is exactly what Thrash Metal should be in 2017 – technical, angry, and fast.

Dave Mustaine’s snarling vocals generally polarise listeners but they have obviously had a major influence on the vocal style of  David Sanchez. Despite the obvious Mustaine influence Sanchez has more tricks than the snarl. He also utilises a high pitch screech which is reminiscent of Steve “Zetro” Souza (Exodus) or perhaps even Chuck Schuldiner (Death).  The Megadeth comparisons don’t stop with the vocal delivery though. Even when I consider the political nature of a lot of Megadeth songs (Peace Sells, United Abominations etc) I cant recall an entire album which is as politically charged as Conformicide. It’s a venomous spit in the face to the current state of world politics and  the media.

The guitars and drums on Conformicide  are tight and ferocious and the mix is spot on for my taste. The album is a pleasure to listen to.  If I was going to single out a individual performance on the album for specific praise it’d be the virtuosic bass of Nick Schendzielos. Clearly Schendzielos isn’t in the thrash game to chug away on the bottom strings. His slap bass riffing, walking bass lines and general approach to his parts is highly impressive and provides a point of difference to Havok’s sound.

The song writing on the album is really great, but if I was going to be critical I’d admit that I do find the first half of the album more enjoyable than the second half. That’s not to say the album’s second half isn’t impressive, I just prefer the first half a dozen tracks to the second half even if the cover of  Slaughtered by Pantera is a nice way to round out the release.

All in all Conformicide is a really enjoyable album. This isn’t a release which you’ll spin a few times and grow tired of – the songs are complex enough that you really do need to give it plenty of listens to become familiar with the many twists and turns in most of the tracks.

There are plenty of great new wave thrash bands but Havok are definitely leading the change along side the likes of Vektor, Warbringer and Municipal Waste. If you’re an established Havok fan I’m sure Conformicide will meet your high expectations, but if you’re not yet familiar with the band cast aside the lack lustre latest releases from the likes of Slayer and Metallica and give this album a listen, you wont be disappointed.

Band: Havok
Album: Conformicide
Year: 2017
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label:  Century Media Records
Origin: United States

About

Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.