Havok and Toxic Holocaust - Denver, CO, 19th February 2012

Event: Forward Into Battle USA Tour 2012
Written by: D.T. Metal
Published: 23.02.2012

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Forward Into Battle-USA Tour 2012 - Denver, CO, 19th Febr 2012 by D.T. Metal (32)
The Forward Into Battle - USA Tour just rolled into Colorado this past weekend and playing from top to bottom were English Dogs, The Casualties, Toxic Holocaust and Havok. Splendid idea by the tour organizers to combine the genres off thrash and punk, get some newer and older bands together, and therefore present the younger as well as the older folks a kick ass billing.

Not knowing what to expect but highly looking forward to the gig I made my way up to the Summit Music Hall in downtown Denver where I had the extremely easy task of covering the two openers for Metal Storm. Luckily the bands were no strangers to the crowd since both hail from the thrash/speed metal Mecca of the United States; Denver, CO and Portland, OR! Kidding, kidding!

On with it; well, sometimes the band, whose task it was to warm up the audience, didn't get much love or recognition, but this was clearly not the case that night. Denver's own Thrash Titans Havok took the stage about 30 minutes after doors to an already sizable crowd, ready to throw down.

Living in Colorado, I have followed the band's progress for some years now; starting with their gigs at local bars to opening and touring with heavy hitters such as Anthrax, Primal Fear, and Forbidden just to name a few. And mark my words: 2012 will be Havok's year to shine and break loose from the sea of "retro thrash" bands that have popped up over the years.




Since they only released two full length albums thus far, their set-list was actually pretty good, with the bulk of course from their 2011 release Time Is Up. If memory serves me well, then the only songs from 2009 Burnplayed that night were "Morbid Symmetry" and of course "Afterburner."

Starting with "No Amnesty," Dave Sanchez and Co. made it perfectly clear that everybody's neck muscles would be sore for days to come, and playing "Fatal Intervention" didn't offer much relief. As a matter of fact their entire set was one big head-banging and moshing to the max extravaganza for all. Only "D.O.A." gave a little liberation during the breaks before the song went flat out ape shit again.

Havok has had a pretty solid line-up for a couple years now with Dave Sanchez (guitars and vocals) and Jesse De Los Santos (bass), but bringing Reece Scruggs (guitar) as well as Pete Webber (drums) to the fold proved to be a major plus. This was ever so apparent when they played "Out Of My Way" which really showcased Pete's drumming abilities. Nothing more can be said about Sanchez and Scruggs' guitar duals as well as Jesse's plugging on his bass that have not been told already.

Kick ass performance all around and other then the aforementioned songs I believe they also played "Covering Fire" and "Scumbag in Disguise" (both off Time Is Up) but I could be wrong. Being a "home-town" favorite it was no surprise to me that Havok gave all they got and the crowd rewarded them with relentless cheering and singing along. Great way to start a concert!



Next up was the once "one-man-recording" band surrounded by live musicians; yap, Toxic Holocaust was back in town! The last time I saw Joel Grind and Co. was back in 2009 during the Hatebreed tour and since the band released a new album (Conjure And Command) just last year, I was eager to check out the new tunes.

Opening their set with "Wild Dogs" off the 2008 album An Overdose Of Death…Toxic Holocaust chose the perfect song to get things going. With the punkish, speed metal sound of the song it really was a perfect fit. Even though the band is a 3 piece ensemble, this fact doesn't take anything away from their sound.

Going straight into "Nuke the Cross" was apparently the signal for the moshpit to go nuts; holy crap. I wanna say that "I Am Disease" was the first song they played off their 2011 album Conjure And Command, and let it be heard, I really dig their new material; Celtic Frost came to mind right away.



Joel has that raspy, almost smokey voice that just fits perfectly with the music played. Very apparent as well in one of the other new songs, "Bitch." His guitar playing skills are unquestionable, and since he is the only shredder on stage there is no room for mistakes. And none he did that evening; pure delight to watch him command his weapon of choice.

Doesn't matter if it was a thrashy speed metal song such as "War Is Hell" (originally off 2003's Evil Never Dies but later re-released on An Overdose Of Death… in 2008) or a more straight forward metal sounding "The Lord of the Wasteland" his knack for writing a good tune never ceases to amaze me. In my opinion, Toxic Holocaust is so under rated it's pathetic. They should be much more popular here in North America, but hey, that's just me.

The song that really did it for me from the new album is by far "Agony of the Damned," because musically it just incorporates everything I like about the band. Kick ass drumming, down tempo parts, thumping bass lines and killer riffs; hell yeah!

There is no doubt in my mind that everybody in the room had an awesome time and before it was all said and done attendance was around 500 or so. There were by far more punk fans in the venue then thrashers, but by the end of the night everybody left exhausted, sweaty and happy.



The Casualties played next; I never saw them live before and they put on a great show. With their more hard core punk music they sure as hell knew how to push every button of their fans. When their singer called for a wall-of-death, I was thinking to myself, "yeah right, haven't seen one done correctly in a long ass time", but to my delight, the crowd proved to be on top of their game and delivered flawlessly.

The headliner English Dogs who toured with their 1985 Forward Into Battle line-up plus the addition of Ryan and Craig Christy (on bass and guitar) was the perfect ending to an awesome evening. Though way older then the prior bands, they put on a performance like it was still 1986, which was the last time the band played on our shores.



This was a great way to spend a Sunday night and I am waiting to catch all of the bands on tour again.


Review and pictures by D.T. Metal



 



Written on 23.02.2012 by
D.T. Metal
Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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ChapuLviz - 24.02.2012 at 00:00  
The Casualties, is the best Hardcore Punk... Up The Thrash and Punk!!...
Aeterna - 28.05.2012 at 19:29  
Havok did probably play Covering Fire and Scumbag in Disguise. It seems like much the same setlist as when I saw them a couple of weeks ago. They do indeed put up one hell of a show.

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