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Havok - "Time Is Up" (CD)

Havok - "Time Is Up" CD cover image

"Time Is Up" track listing:

1. Prepare For Attack
2. Fatal Intervention
3. No Amnesty
4. D.O.A.
5. Covering Fire
6. Killing Tendencies
7. Scumbag In Disguise
8. The Cleric
9. Out Of My Way
10. Time Is Up

Reviewed by on April 4, 2011

"Old-school thrash fans are going to be wreaking Havok's 'Time Is Up' on their neighbors with the windows rolled down and the volume cranked up to 11. "

With "Time Is Up," Denver-based Havok turns time back to around 1989 to serve up a solid slab of old-school thrash that blends the speed and rhythmic sensibilities of Anthrax with the virtuosity of Megadeth and the take-no-prisoners vocals of early Slayer. In other words, it starts kicking your ass from the moment you hit play, and doesn't ever let up.

What separates Havok from the rest of the recent thrash revival crowd is the band's dedication to rhythm. Drummer Pete Webber might not be the flashiest drummer out there, but he makes sure to give just the right amount of groove to the slower sections of tunes like "Fatal Intervention." No one's ever going to mistake any of these tracks for dance music, but Webber and bassist Jesse de los Santos are given enough room amid the wall of guitars to add an appealing swing to the songs.

Ax-men Dave Sanchez and Reece Scruggs perform to near perfection on tracks like "Scumbag In Disguise," creating extended instrumental sections that flow smoothly from riffs to face-melting solos. The solos are the one thing that feels slightly more modern, with some having an arpeggiated, power metal feel to them.

Sanchez also provides vocals, backed up by de los Santos, and he does quite well at conveying the album's relentlessly aggressive vibe. The gang chorus moments on "Out Of My Way" have an especially old-school feel to them.

It feels a little strange to criticize a thrash band for playing too fast, but the few times that the band loses focus are on tracks like "No Amnesty" and "Out Of My Way," in which the sheer velocity overwhelms the great rhythmic sensibility that only slightly slower tracks like "Time Is Up" manage to maintain. It's hardly a fatal flaw, though.

Old-school thrash fans are going to be wreaking Havok's "Time Is Up" on their neighbors with the windows rolled down and the volume cranked up to 11. It's an excellent disc full of monster riffs, solos and grooves.

Highs: "Prepare For Attack," "Fatal Intervention" and "Time Is Up."

Lows: Speed kills big chunks of "No Amnesty" and "Out Of My Way."

Bottom line: A mostly excellent old-school thrasher.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)