Rating:
N/A
Havok - Unnatural Selection
25 June 2013


01. I Am The State
02. Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death
03. It Is True
04. Under The Gun
05. Waste Of Life
06. Living Nightmare
07. Chasing The Edge
08. Worse Than War
09. Children Of The Grave [Black Sabbath cover]
10. Unnatural Selection


The media usually dubs a third album release as the "make it, or break it" point in a bands career. Havok's third album Unnatural Selection won't do either of those. A quote, albeit modified, by the great Doc Godin in regards to their prior album (Time Is Up) might explain some of the difficulties I had while reviewing their latest piece.

"...I was really stoked on hating loving this. In fact, even as I sit and listen to it, something in my brain is telling me I should hate love this...but I have to admit, this is actually pretty solid average."

There, I said it - average, as in I expected more. Not saying the new album is bad, it actually grew on me, but maybe Havok set the bar too high with their 2011 release Time Is Up and that's why I expected more this time around; who knows. But one thing is for sure; they did evolve from their earlier sound, but if this is a good thing has yet to be determined.

Unnatural Selection does start off pretty strong while being very gratifying to the ear. Not so much to the neck muscles - be forewarned, head-banging guarantied. The guitar riffs and solos alike, while nothing groundbreaking, are what you would expect to hear on a thrash album. But then Unnatural Selection turns a bit - "unnatural".

While Sanchez, as well as Scruggs, do prove over and over again that they clearly are the masters of their axes, the songs structures and overall sense of listening to thrash does turn to a more modern version of the genre. Things pick back up with "Chasing The Edge"; short, sweet, awesome solo, and we are back on track. Well, almost. While the follower "Worse Than War" has a killer and very memorable lead riff, the song in itself could be faster.

After throwing in a Black Sabbath cover the album does ends on a strong note. The title track reminds us once again that Havok is actually a thrash band. But, since the bulk of the album is somewhat mid-tempo driven I wouldn't be surprised if some "thrash elitists" won't give Unnatural Selection a fair chance.

Don't get me wrong; the musicianship is superb. The shredding is, as expected, good old Havok style. Their newly acquired bassist Mike Leon (The Absence) is not only a virtuoso on his 4-string but his plugging is very heavy in the mix throughout the entire album; "Under The Gun" just one of many examples. Sometimes though it feels that Havok didn't use Pete Webber's abilities to their fullest since the drumming is not as demanding on some songs. But then again; a drum solo on "I Am The State"? Hmmm, that caught me of guard.

David Sanchez tried some different vocal styles on this release as well. While the majority of the album does feature his thrashier style of singing on "Waste Of Life" Dave Mustai …. eh Sanchez throws in some clean as well as shouting spurts. Verdict is still out on this one.

In all, the album is not bad and it does grow on you. Yes, it is extreme modern sounding. Yes, I still believe their prior one was better. No, I don't believe Havok lost their edge. I look at Unnatural Selection as the "rambunctious teenager" in their discography; a time to explore and experiment.


Band profile: Havok
Album: Unnatural Selection


 



Written on 21.06.2013 by
D.T. Metal
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Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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psykometal - 21.06.2013 at 23:41  
Interesting review. It confirms what I suspected this release would be like after listening to the single they released through Bandcamp earlier this month. I still plan to give it a chance though since you say it is a grower.
Sunioj - 21.06.2013 at 23:58  
Really enjoyed the previous album, but will be sure to give this a spin. Didn't even know they had a new album, thanks for the review.
Apothecary - 22.06.2013 at 01:21  
I never really did see what all the fuss was about over Time Is Up back in 2011, it was good but nothing like the impression Black Future left on me. I will be giving this a listen though, just for the sake of seeing what these guys are up to. Also, I'll definitely be checking out that Children of the Grave cover, Master Of Reality was always my favorite album from the Ozzy era.
Mattybu - 22.06.2013 at 02:04  
Nice review, sounds like a nice little album and if nothing else won't be disappointing. and Time Is Up was a fuckin ripper as well so it doesnt have to be on that level to be good xD
K†ulu - 22.06.2013 at 11:41  
Actually it was my review of Time is up quoting Doc Godin
D.T. Metal - 22.06.2013 at 16:47  
Written by K†ulu on 22.06.2013 at 11:41

Actually it was my review of Time is up quoting Doc Godin

I know, but it still was Doc's quote in regards to the album
Rulatore - 22.06.2013 at 19:49  
Dat quote.

Nice review, I''m actually dissapointed before listening it, just by reading this.
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.06.2013 at 01:45  
Actually thid album doesn't surprise me at at all, since this is the sort of thrash Havok have been playing all along. Tired uninspired nrevivalist thrash that can't hold a candle up to the originals.
Ace Frawley - 23.06.2013 at 04:44  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.06.2013 at 01:45

Actually thid album doesn't surprise me at at all, since this is the sort of thrash Havok have been playing all along. Tired uninspired nrevivalist thrash that can't hold a candle up to the originals.


I can't comment on this album because I couldn't be bothered with it but the only album by Havok that I got was Time Is Up and I thought it was average, so I agree with your sentiment that they play revivalist thrash that is a pale imitation of the original movement.
Lit. - 23.06.2013 at 08:24  
Havok are one of the few bands I think of (others being Bonded By Blood and Evile) when I hear "revivalist thrash." As if such a term were shameful. They're average in comparison to the others, yes, but Havok at least stand a cut above the worst. Good riffs and shredding, but not enough to make up as a whole. I spun Time Is Up maybe once or twice before getting bored with it, and I still play stuff like World's Torn Asunder, Conjure And Command and Forever Abomination consistantly. I predict this album with be a similar instance to TIU.
Cynic Metalhead - 24.06.2013 at 08:55  
Time is Up brought them the recognition, no doubt about it. If someone says "it's average" I have to strongly disagree on that. Time was a great record with some amazing riffs and that sets the bar fucking high for them. I haven't heard Unnatural yet but I'll still say "if they come close to Time is Up, their job is decently done". Now, in comparisons they're far behind but still they're growing. From their one off the new track streaming on bandcamp, i was disappointed for what they come up with. Let's see about this album.
Malignar - 24.06.2013 at 22:06  
Time is Up was too slow for my tastes and wasn't nearly as energetic as Burn. Looks like the reviewer is saying this is even slower than "Time is Up"...I may have to pass on this one unfortunately.
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 02:33  
I acquired the album earlier this morning and have jammed on my breaks and such at work throughout the day, it's better than I thought it would be, which pleases me greatly, but Time Is Up is still better imo.
Marcel Hubregtse - 25.06.2013 at 03:08  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 02:33

I acquired the album earlier this morning and have jammed on my breaks and such at work throughout the day, it's better than I thought it would be, which pleases me greatly, but Time Is Up is still better imo.


Since you're such a fan of a band try and explain to me why I am wrong with my opinion that evrythng this band did was just mediocre at best and totally not enticing. Keep in mind I grew up with the stuff the stuff these guys try to copy but in my opinion fail dismally at,
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 03:50  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.06.2013 at 03:08

Since you're such a fan of a band try and explain to me why I am wrong with my opinion that evrythng this band did was just mediocre at best and totally not enticing. Keep in mind I grew up with the stuff the stuff these guys try to copy but in my opinion fail dismally at,

I think you quoted the wrong person, Marcel. I never accused you of being wrong about Havok or thrash...
Mr. Doctor - 25.06.2013 at 11:37  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 03:50
I think you quoted the wrong person, Marcel. I never accused you of being wrong about Havok or thrash...

Either that or he's drunk.
Marcel Hubregtse - 25.06.2013 at 16:55  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 03:50

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.06.2013 at 03:08

Since you're such a fan of a band try and explain to me why I am wrong with my opinion that evrythng this band did was just mediocre at best and totally not enticing. Keep in mind I grew up with the stuff the stuff these guys try to copy but in my opinion fail dismally at,

I think you quoted the wrong person, Marcel. I never accused you of being wrong about Havok or thrash...


that 'wrong' wasn't directed at you for calling me that considering Havok, because you , indeed, never said that. But it was more generally directed towards everyone who seems to think band is oh so brilliant and actually called people wrong for thinking Havok is nothing special at all. All I wanted to hear from you as a fan of the band what your reason is for immensely enjoying this, imo, mediocre thrash revivalist band. So, maybe I can understand what goed on in the brains of Havok fans
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 17:52  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.06.2013 at 16:55

*That 'wrong' *comment wasn't directed at you*, regarding Havok, because you *indeed never said that. *It was more generally directed towards everyone who seems to think *the band is oh so brilliant and actually called people wrong for thinking Havok is nothing special at all. All I wanted to hear from you, as a fan of the band, *was what your reason is for immensely enjoying this, imo, mediocre thrash revivalist band. So, maybe I can understand what *goes on in the brains of Havok fans.

*Couldn't resist cuz for a second there I thought I was reading a K7 post since you normally write better than that

You couldn't have explained that in your quote...?

The reason I enjoy Havok is the same base reason anybody likes any particular band/album/genre, the music sounds good to me and when each successive track ends I find myself wanting to continue listening to the next track, and then when the album ends I find myself wanting to listen to it all over again.
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 17:54  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.06.2013 at 11:37

Either that or he's drunk.

Well that's what I kinda figured at first is that he was drunk and meant to quote Cynic or one of these chuckleheads hating on the Havok/revivalist thrash detractors.
Marcel Hubregtse - 25.06.2013 at 17:55  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 17:52


You couldn't have explained that in your quote...?





when I wrote that post I thought it would be crystal clear as to what I meant, but apparently it wasn't
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 18:48  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.06.2013 at 17:55

when I wrote that post I thought it would be crystal clear as to what I meant, but apparently it wasn't

Must be Dutch logic...
Marcel Hubregtse - 25.06.2013 at 18:51  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 18:48


Must be Dutch logic...


No, just Marcel H. logic
psykometal - 25.06.2013 at 18:57  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.06.2013 at 18:51

No, just Marcel H. logic

Touche.
KingDiamondHead - 01.07.2013 at 04:20  
Well, I just listened to this one and found myself enjoying it immensely. I don't know what else to say. For those of us who would like to never see the death of Thrash, Havok has breathed new life into our beloved genre in all 3 of their full-length albums. These guys are great and Megadeth sucks! Just kidding to those die-hard Megadeth fans, your commitment is impressive.
Cynic Metalhead - 02.07.2013 at 10:55  
Written by psykometal on 25.06.2013 at 17:54

Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.06.2013 at 11:37

Either that or he's drunk.

meant to quote Cynic or one of these chuckleheads hating on the Havok/revivalist thrash detractors.


I hate Havok? Woah, how you came to that conclusion?
psykometal - 02.07.2013 at 19:01  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 02.07.2013 at 10:55

I hate Havok? Woah, how you came to that conclusion?

Wasn't trying to say you were a hater, was supposed to be perceived as "Cynic or a hater".
Fritillaria - 02.07.2013 at 19:12  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.06.2013 at 01:45

Tired uninspired nrevivalist thrash that can't hold a candle up to the originals.

I'm afraid to ask this but isn't this because of the nature of this genre ? I mean Thrash doesn't leave so much space for the musicians to bring more creativity,fresh sound with approach to the originals ? and I guess this is because the bests of the genre have been played by many other older bands from around 80s up to now and the recent musicians don't know how to bring back those to their newer works because everything they may play would be the same as what others have played before.Correct me if I'm wrong.
Cynic Metalhead - 02.07.2013 at 20:26  
From the next time, use small c to refer cynic.
psykometal - 02.07.2013 at 21:43  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 02.07.2013 at 20:26

From the next time, use small c to refer cynic.

No I meant Cynic as in you (Cynic Metalhead), but I wasn't meaning to incinuate that you are a hater. Marcel's comment appeared to be talking to either you, as a fanboy trying to hate on him, or maybe he meant to quote somebody else in the thread who IS a hater.
Cynic Metalhead - 03.07.2013 at 17:08  
I never attacked Marcel on Havok case, although I attack him on different cases when he's insanely drunk and type some random shit.

His comments must be on a "newbies" who drilled 10 without listening to the new record. I, certainly, not one of them.
psykometal - 03.07.2013 at 21:49  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 03.07.2013 at 17:08

I never attacked Marcel on Havok case, although I attack him on different cases when he's insanely drunk and type some random shit.

His comments must be on a "newbies" who drilled 10 without listening to the new record. I, certainly, not one of them.

Well I know that now. But at the time of my post I didn't.
Sir Thrashalot - 04.07.2013 at 01:14  
''There, I said it - average, as in I expected more. Not saying the new album is bad, it actually grew on me, but maybe Havok set the bar too high with their 2011 release Time Is Up and that's why I expected more this time around; who knows. But one thing is for sure; they did evolve from their earlier sound, but if this is a good thing has yet to be determined.''

My thoughts exactly after a few spin. I highly prefer Time is Up to this one. It's worth a few spin but nothing very much interesting here.
Sunioj - 06.07.2013 at 10:17  
This album feels very tame, not a huge fan. Time is Up had a lot of raw energy that seems to have died here.
psykometal - 06.07.2013 at 21:22  
Written by Sunioj on 06.07.2013 at 10:17

This album feels very tame, not a huge fan. Time is Up had a lot of raw energy that seems to have died here.

According to their frontman (in our Staff interview with him) they didn't lose the energy, they just made a conscious effort to slow things down a little bit on this album so that their live shows would be more varied than just high speed thrash the whole time.
Sunioj - 06.07.2013 at 22:06  
Written by psykometal on 06.07.2013 at 21:22

According to their frontman (in our Staff interview with him) they didn't lose the energy, they just made a conscious effort to slow things down a little bit on this album so that their live shows would be more varied than just high speed thrash the whole time.


Yeah, I remember reading that. They can do whatever they want but the only reason I listen to thrash (the little I do) is to have my teeth kicked in and this isn't anything spectacular for me. Some songs are alright and faster, but its not the type of listen that begs me to come back. I can see the appeal though
psykometal - 06.07.2013 at 23:29  
Written by Sunioj on 06.07.2013 at 22:06

Yeah, I remember reading that. They can do whatever they want but the only reason I listen to thrash (the little I do) is to have my teeth kicked in and this isn't anything spectacular for me. Some songs are alright and faster, but its not the type of listen that begs me to come back. I can see the appeal though

Oh fasho. I was just indicating the reason. I feel the same way, I also listen to very little thrash, and it's usually always these retro thrash bands cuz they're usually packed full of that raw energy and groove that was so prevelant in the 80s.

If you're looking for some other good high-energy retro thrash then also check out the latest from Crisix, Lost Society and Gama Bomb.
Sunioj - 07.07.2013 at 10:36  
Written by psykometal on 06.07.2013 at 23:29

If you're looking for some other good high-energy retro thrash then also check out the latest from Crisix, Lost Society and Gama Bomb.


Thanks, I will give that a shot. Check out Power Trip, its crossover but pretty brutal.
psykometal - 07.07.2013 at 10:47  
Written by Sunioj on 07.07.2013 at 10:36

Thanks, I will give that a shot. Check out Power Trip, its crossover but pretty brutal.

Yea, I have Power Trip. Good thrash from my home state of Texas! They're one of the only crossover bands I actually like thanks to the production and heavier focus on the thrash than the punk.
Sunioj - 07.07.2013 at 14:09  
Written by psykometal on 07.07.2013 at 10:47

Yea, I have Power Trip. Good thrash from my home state of Texas! They're one of the only crossover bands I actually like thanks to the production and heavier focus on the thrash than the punk.


Ah, that's right. I think they're out of Fort Worth. Great stuff, the production is really good.
psykometal - 07.07.2013 at 17:44  
Written by Sunioj on 07.07.2013 at 14:09

Ah, that's right. I think they're out of Fort Worth. Great stuff, the production is really good.

Yup, they're from the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) area. I live about 4 hours south in Houston. #TexasPride
Mage257 - 13.07.2013 at 15:35  
I listen to Thrash Metal since the mid 80's. To be honest it puts a smile on my face seeing bands like Havok carying on the flame started back then and taking on the legacy.

This isn't a simple job b/c we (the Old School guys) are hard to satisfy but, I think Havok is doing their stuff really good.

We should appreciate what these guys are doing b/c they brought Thrash Metal back to the table. W/o them we all still sit in our rooms listen to the good ol' stuff ... whining b/c our heros failed miserable with their newer stuff.

Unnatural Selection is a good one, not awesome but good. It's a bit slower but I'm fine w/ that. The guys are tight, all of 'em know how to play and they throw some cool riffs and good songs. Thanx for that \m/
D.T. Metal - 13.07.2013 at 16:31  
Written by Mage257 on 13.07.2013 at 15:35

I listen to Thrash Metal since the mid 80's. To be honest it puts a smile on my face seeing bands like Havok carying on the flame started back then and taking on the legacy.

This isn't a simple job b/c we (the Old School guys) are hard to satisfy but, I think Havok is doing their stuff really good.

Guib - 30.09.2013 at 03:45  
I agree that the bar was way too fucking high... but this album is solid, and personally I love it.

But to me this year's Thrash metal release goes to Crisix - Rise...Then Rest.
psykometal - 30.09.2013 at 09:43  
Written by Guib on 30.09.2013 at 03:45

But to me this year's Thrash metal release goes to Crisix - Rise...Then Rest.

I'd probably have to agree. That album is fun as hell!
Daniell - 30.09.2013 at 10:43  
I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.

When I want old thrash, I'll listen to old thrash bands and their albums. I feel no need to listen to copycats.
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.09.2013 at 15:20  
Written by Daniell on 30.09.2013 at 10:43

I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.



colour-by-numbers thrash it indeed is. Remember how you used to do that when little? Such as this one? Gingerbread Man
R'Vannith - 30.09.2013 at 15:40  
I think they tried a few new tricks, "It Is True" sounds very Voivod-y for example. For the most part though it doesn't live up to their previous album.
psykometal - 30.09.2013 at 16:23  
Written by Daniell on 30.09.2013 at 10:43

I call this kind of music assembly line production - everything is done as if templates were used. Not a single thing is adventurous, risky, innovative. Nothing bears a mark of uniqueness or originality.

When I want old thrash, I'll listen to old thrash bands and their albums. I feel no need to listen to copycats.

Marcel Hubregtse - 30.09.2013 at 16:47  
Written by psykometal on 30.09.2013 at 16:23





oh yeah I forgot about metal by numbers by Brian, as take on colour by numbers.

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