Havok : Time Is Up

They Say :- On their 2009 debut, Burn, Havok quickly showed metalheads that they were much more than your average thrash band. Even Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory) took note of the young band saying, “Havok lays it down old-school heavy like a sharp stick in the eye.”
Time Is Up immediately showcases the band’s highly skilled musicianship. Blistering guitar work once again highlights the album. Song standouts include album opener “Prepare for Attack,” “Fatal Intervention,” “Covering Fire,” and “Scumbag in Disguise.” Drum work this time round improves tenfold.

We Say :- They say first impressions count. 10 seconds of Havok’s Time Is Up is all it takes before you have a smile that you can’t fit on your face. Whether you have met Havok’s debut, Burn, matters not as you find in Time Is Up a long lost friend from years ago, with whom everything feels ‘just right’. With riffs tighter than Dave Mustaine’s jeans, Havok rip their way through an outstanding ten track thrash extravaganza. Brace yourselves.

Somewhere back in 86, at a top secret location deep in the Bay Area, strands of Burton, Holt, Araya, Skolnick and Lombardo were stored in a cryogenic state until technology moved forward enough to create the band currently known as ‘Havok’. DNA cloning is the only possible explanation for the sound created by a band that look like they weren’t even born at the peak of the thrash metal era.

Another, perhaps more radical theory is that they are simply very talented; Havok display an obvious passion for creating a proper metal-thrashing mad cracker of a record. Bar modern day sonics of the production, you really do find yourself scrutinising the CD to see what year it was released. Unlike the retro thrash bands who attempt to recreate the Sound of Music Past, Time Is Up sounds like a remastered classic of the time. This authenticity is what makes the album so special. If you are at all familiar with Violence’s Eternal Nightmare then this album is every bit as exciting, fun and attention grabbing (if you’re not familiar with the album then get to it!).

If, like me, you shed a little tear upon noticing that Lazarus A.D had deftly swerved writing another thrash masterpiece by deviating onto the Southern Groove road, then you will be wetting yourself with excitement at every single track on this album. How could you fail to be enamoured by the crunchy guitar tones and rapid string slides, like speeding bullets. Or what about the glorious moment when David Sanchez recreates Tom Araya’s infamous Angel Of Death scream on ‘D.O.A’? It’s unabashed, relentless and infectious. Imagine a crazy out of control train thundering down the tracks at ridiculous speeds, before crashing and becoming engulfed by a huge ball of fire. Well, that’s this album from opener ‘Prepare For Attack’ right through to the closing title track. In musical form, obviously…

This album is doused in a Bay Area sauce circa 1987: vocals are delivered through the medium commonly known as screaming; no song drops below three figure bpm and there is less chance of discovering a ballad on this album than there is of a new Gun’s N Roses album in the next decade. All in all, this is pretty much everything I could ask for. I’m still not going to give full marks though; I’d love to hope that this isn’t their Reign In Blood. Here’s hoping Havok can up the ante once again on their next release. The very thought makes me weak at the knees.

Much like the thrash greats of yesteryear, Time Is Up has managed to capture the zeitgeist of the bands of that era. Way back when thrash was new, there was a tangible air of excitement in the music. Some 30 years on it takes something quite special to recreate that vibe. In Time Is Up, Havok have nailed it.