25 June 2013
by Rob McAuslan
Yet more thrash on Thrash Hits? It’s just that there’s quite a lot of it about lately, honestly – we’ll get back to haircare regimes, sandwiches and what a wally Jared Leto is soon enough, don’t worry. Havok are a weird one though, in that so far they’ve actually been really very good indeed at channelling the best of the late 80s thrash scene. Unnatural Selection sees them back off the pace considerably from the frenzied Time Is Up, and that’s a move that should set any old thrasher’s alarms ringing.
It isn’t always a bad thing, slowing down a bit. There’s always time for a bit of a breather in even the most frantic live set, and some of the songs on Unnatural Selection are impossible to imagine being improved by an increase in BPM, but it’s pretty telling that most of the very best bits of this record coincide with the accelerator being floored. Some of the slower songs are still decent, with ‘Chasing The Edge’ coming over like Overkill fronted by Steve Souza for example, and even the weaker tracks feature some very tasty lead-work to hold your interest.
Watch the video to ‘Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death’ by Havok:
Whilst it sounds like I might be about to give this record a bit of a roasting, I can’t bring myself to do it as there are still plenty of positives. The constant clanging, popping tone of new bassist Mike Leon drives the more lacklustre riffs (‘Worse Than War’, ‘Waste Of Life’, ‘Under The Gun’) to prevent the whole thing collapsing into tedium, and the faster songs still show the fire and creative spark that Havok have so far built their reputation on. It’s just a shame that a band that once led the pack have dropped such a relative bollock.
Sounds Like: Havok forgot what made them so vital.
Standout Tracks: I Am The State, Living Nightmare, Unnatural Selection (all the fast ones, basically)