Havok: Unnatural Selection review

Colorado thrashers Havok may not of been born out of the Bay area thrash metal movement of the early 80’s, but listening to their newest offering on Candlelight Records called “Unnatural Selection,” you would never know that. Formed in 2004, the band consists of David Sanchez on vocals and guitar, Reece Scruggs on lead guitar, Pete Webber on drums and Mike Leon on bass. The influence of thrash music is undeniable and the band does an impeccable job paying homage to it’s great legacy. “Unnatural Selection” picks up where it’s predecessor left off, but is leaps and bounds beyond it in terms of musicianship, songwriting and production. Bringing Terry Date of Pantera fame in on production duties was an investment that has paid off in a big way. Through thought provoking lyrics, a powerhouse musical backbone and hard hitting in your face vocals, the band has created something that is sure to elevate them to the same level as their peers. The juggernaut begins with “I Am The State”. An intense melodic thrasher that sounds like “Hell Awaits” era Slayer crossed with “Among The Living” era Anthrax. Next is first single “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death.” It combines elements of Overkill and Voivod and is without a doubt, the best track on the disc. The rumble of “It Is True” is equal parts Black Flag & Suicidal Tendencies. While the relentless aggression of “Under The Gun,” could be on any album in the Exodus cataloge. The searing leads and chunky groove of “Waste Of Life” will have you thinking of Megadeth’s “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Living Nightmare” will intoxicate the legions of Metallica faithful. “Chasing The Edge” features a kenetic guitar riff that  pays tribute to Testament. The opening moments of “Worse Than War” are reminiscent of Slayer’s “South Of Heaven” and the cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” stays true to the original. Closer “Unnatural Selection”ranks up there with Slayer’s “Reign In Blood” and is sure to draw comparisons for years to come. Here’s the bottom line. The songs contained within are as strong as anything Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax or Testament has ever done. They draw the listener in and renders them helpless to resist. The band is getting critical acclaim and are rising up through the ranks fast. This is one you can’t afford to miss. 9 out of 10. Eric Hunker