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Havok: Time Is Up

Album Notes

The unexpected rebirth of vintage American thrash midway through the 2000s was a pleasant if short-lived surprise, once veteran fans and newbies alike realized there was precious little left to do with the hallowed old genre that hadn't already been done before, and better. Every last `80s thrash band of note and their snotty little brother reunited and released comeback albums of varying quality (heck, even Metallica finally broke down and returned to their roots, though for entirely different reasons), but only a handful of young `uns released albums worth remembering, once the worshipful good vibes subsided, including California's Warbringer, Brazil's Violator, Virginia's Municipal Waste, and, now, Colorado's Havok. Already impressive on their 2009 debut effort, Burn, the Denver quartet really puts it all together on the 2011 sophomore Time Is Up, marrying the necessary old-school thrash hallmarks with enough fresh ideas and memorable hooks to keep boredom at bay on neck-snapping riff machines like "Fatal Intervention," "Scumbag in Disguise," and "Out of My Way." It's also worth noting that slower tempos and heightened melodicism are not out of the question for the band, either, even if the experiments don't always work as well on some cuts (see the spotty "Killing Tendencies") as others (the excellent "D.O.A."). Ultimately, it would still be quite a stretch (OK, it would be an outright lie) to praise Havok for introducing any innovations with Time Is Up (but then that's not their goal), and one can never help but wonder whether the band's tight-as-f**k musicianship would have been possible before the advent of Pro-Tools, but this is still about as good as it gets for modern, moshing entertainment. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia


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