7/10

If you want thrash, you’ve got it.

Following 2017’s slightly more experimental album ‘Conformicide’, Havok is once again back in full old school thrash force. The music is as intricate as it is fast, tailor made for moshpits and sure to please conservative headbangers with their heads stuck in the 1980’s as well as metalheads yearning for that classic Bay Area thrash sound. Havok is now a festival mainstay around the world, and just like their hard rock counterparts in Airbourne, they are sure to draw in audience based on the fact that even if you’ve never heard the band, you’ve heard it all before. Like the angry younger brothers (or children) of Megadeth and Exodus, the true purpose of the band could be that they inject new blood in a genre that is essential for metal, but led by bands who are ageing and retiring.

With this in mind, on their fifth album ‘V’ Havok makes no effort to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they sound fully focused to fine tune their craft to make it as synonymous with the term “thrash metal” as possible. Like they know that the role of heir apparent to the elderly Big 4 is becoming up for grabs, and that there will always be an audience for old school thrash.

The general critique that could be given to this album is simultaneously its strength; its technique is perfect to the verge of becoming formulaic, and consists of absolutely no surprises. A Havok album is now to thrash like a Bob Marley album is to reggae; it abides to the rules of the genre, because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be the genre anymore. Thrash should be blistering riffs, aggressive vocals, and breakneck tempos. If you slow it down too much, you get ‘Load’ by Metallica. In that regard, Havok’s ‘V’ is a success, and a fine piece of thrash.

Artist: Havok
Title: V
Label: Century Media Records
Date of release: 1/5-20
Rate: 7/10
Stand out track:  Cosmetic Surgery