"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Havok - "Unnatural Selection" (CD)

Havok - "Unnatural Selection" CD cover image

"Unnatural Selection" track listing:

1. I Am The State
2. Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death
3. It Is True
4. Under The Gun
5. Waste Of Life
6. Living Nightmare
7. Chasing The Edge
8. Worse Than War
9. Children Of The Grave
10. Unnatural Selection

Reviewed by on June 27, 2013

"There's a lot to love about Havok's latest old-school thrasher, 'Unnatural Selection,' even if it does have a bit of a been there, done that feel at times."

There's a lot to love about Havok's latest old-school thrasher, "Unnatural Selection," even if it does have a bit of a "been there, done that" feel at times. Then again, an album like this might be best measured by the soreness in your neck rather than its level of originality.

There's nothing to complain about chops-wise. As usual, ax-men David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs shred mightily. Tracks like the opener, "I Am The State" and the speedy "Under The Gun" are among the better showcases of the guitar talent here.

One thing that's quite excellent (and mildly unexpected, given that this is a thrash record) is how much space in the mix bassist Mike Leon gets on this outing. Combine that with the always excellent Pete Webber on drums and you get a powerful groove that's ever-so-reminiscent of Anthrax on "Waste Of Life" and "Worse Than War."

Still, instrumental skill isn't everything, and there are definitely some moments that the album stumbles when it comes to songwriting. "Chasing The Edge" is so old-school that it feels dated, what with the big gang vocals. "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death" suffers from some clumsy vocals and lyrics, as well as having the disc's weakest riff. Also, the cover of Black Sabbath's "Children Of The Grave" doesn't add much to the proceedings.

All that said, there isn't a song on the disc that won't set your head to banging at some point. Havok's "Unnatural Selection" isn't the evolutionary leap that some fans might hope for, but it's still a mostly mighty thrasher.

Highs: "I Am The State," ""Waste Of Life" and "Worse Than War."

Lows: "Chasing The Edge" and "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death."

Bottom line: A better-than-average thrasher, even if it does lack modernity.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)