Havok - 'Unnatural Selection' CD Review / Show at St. Vitus Bar on August 7th (Candlelight Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Havok - 'Unnatural Selection' CD Review / Show at St. Vitus Bar on August 7th (Candlelight Records)

Havok - 'Unnatural Selection' CD Review / Show at St. Vitus Bar on August 7th (Candlelight Records)
Denver thrash metallers Havok are back with their third full-length disc, Unnatural Selection (released last month on Candlelight Records) and their first headlining tour of North America, which kicked off this week at Launchpad in Albuquerque, NM. The local tour stop is at St. Vitus Bar on August 7th and Havock is playing with TBA (let’s spread a ‘stupid’ rumor – TBA = Municipal Waste). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 DOS.

Unnatural Selection has everything that you would expect in a thrash album: political themed lyrics, winding, chugging guitar riffs and screaming solos, aggressive sneering vocals and rapid fire drumming. What is refreshing is there is a mix of old school metal in the band’s sound – the disc’s lead-off single, “Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death” has some blistering riffs and a nice bass/drum groove that could easily be compared to bands like Megadeth and Exodus. Immediately shifting gears, this is followed by “It is True”, which comes across somewhat like an 80’s arena-rocker, though with some funky bass grooves and off-kilter, winding guitar lines intermixed with the crunchy hard-rock riffs. The band’s sound starts moving toward doom toward the back-end of the disc, with the down-tuned “Worse Than War” and this track is a perfect lead-in to the band’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”. The band ends the disc on a “thrashy” note with the aggressive and galloping title track “Unnatural Selection”.

On the majority of the songs, in addition to the chugging thrash riffs, there is some great guitar interplay between David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs whose playing ranges from technical shredding to AC/DC meets Iron Maiden hard-rock riffs. Sanchez’s vocals also spans the range from a clean “punkish” sneer to Dave Mustaine style throat shredding rasps and most of the song choruses are shout-along gang vocals. Pete Webber pounds the drums unmercifully (there is a nice, but brief drum solo on disc opener “I Am the State”) and does a nice job of locking into a groove with newcomer, bassist Mike Leon.

The new disc has a really clean sound and was produced by vocalist/guitarist David Sanchez and mixed by Terry Date (Pantera, Overkill, Deftones). The album also features original artwork from Polish illustrator Rafal Wechterowicz (Slayer, Mastodon) and was mastered by James Murphy (Aborted, World Under Blood, Abigail Williams).

Havok – Summer 2013 North American Headline Tour
7/22/2013 - Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
7/24/2013 - Chameleon Room – Oklahoma City, OK
7/25/2013 - Three Links – Dallas, TX
7/26/2013 - Dirty Dog – Austin, TX
7/27/2013 - Zero’s – Corpus Christi, TX
7/28/2013 - Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
7/29/2013 - Siberia – New Orleans, LA
7/31/2013 - Talent Farm – Pembroke Pines, FL
8/01/2013 - Orpheum Theater – Tampa, FL
8/02/2013 - Back Booth – Orlando, FL
8/03/2013 - Ground Zero – Spartanburg, SC
8/04/2013 - Blue Fox – Winchester, VA
8/05/2013 - Empire – Springfield, VA
8/06/2013 - Mojo 13 – Wilmington, DE
8/07/2013 - Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
8/08/2013 - Church of Boston – Boston, MA
8/09/2013 - Backstage at Champs – Trenton, NJ
8/10/2013 - JJ’s Tavern – Florence, MA
8/11/2013 - Heavy Mtl – Montreal, QC
8/12/2013 - Opera House – Toronto, ON w/Finntroll
8/13/2013 - Token Lounge – Westland, MI
8/14/2013 - Peabody’s, Cleveland, OH
8/15/2013 - Ultra Lounge – Chicago, IL
8/16/2013 - Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
8/17/2013 - Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
8/18/2013 - Fubar – St Louis, MO
8/21/2013 - The Shrunken Head – Columbus, OH
8/23/2013 - The Brass Rail – Peoria, IL
8/24/2013 - Blue Pig – Cudahy, WI
8/25/2013 - The Garage – Burnsville, MN
8/26/2013 - The Aquarium – Fargo, ND
8/28/2013 - The Railyard – Billings, MT
8/29/2013 - The Center – Spokane, WA
8/30/2013 - Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
8/31/2013 - Branx – Portland, OR
9/01/2013 - Red House Live – Walnut Creek, CA
9/05/2013 - The Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA
9/06/2013 - Whiskey – West Hollywood, CA
9/07/2013 - Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA
9/08/2013 - Royal Dive – San Diego, CA
9/09/2013 - Rocky Point Cantina – Tempe, AZ
9/10/2013 - Orpheum Theater – Flagstaff, AZ
9/13/2013 - Burt’s Tiki Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT