April 6, 2011 | , | 3.5

Havok, Time Is Up

Havok: Time Is Up

Denver, Colorado’s Havok have unleashed one hell of a tribute to Bay area thrash with their sophomore effort Time Is Up. This isn’t an album for fair weather thrash fans or the whoefully out of shape. Time Is Up is GO, GO, GO, GO right from the start and does not let up off the throttle until you’re either dead from exhaustion or at least 10 pounds lighter from sweating your balls off like Richard Simmons in his shitty ass workout videos.

Havok combine the influences of Exodus, Slayer and a solid dose of Testament into their pummeling and unrelenting assault on your senses. There’s really nothing new under the sun with this album, but it’s highly energetic, well played and hands-down a blast to listen to. The mayhem begins with opening track “Prepare for Attack” as these guys shred their way through Slayer-like riffs, Testament vocal patterns and a little NWOBHM soloing.

Vocalist/guitarist David Sanchez handles his end of the band’s sound with an energetic and aggressive vocal delivery (dude, check out the Araya-like scream on “D.O.A.”) as his counter-point on lead guitar, Reece Scruggs, excels at all things thrash on his instrument. The kid can handle his business and then some. The rhythm section comprised of drummer Pete Webber and Jessie de los Santos on bass (whose work I love on this album) lay down the law with burly beats and an unrelenting, steam rolling pace.

I’ve listened to this disc more than enough times in the past couple of weeks and I’ve got to say that I love the first half of the album much more than the latter. There are a couple of tracks that just lack the overall oomph of the previous songs. Perhaps a different sequence of the track listing would have remedied this. At any rate, you’ve got to check out “Prepare for Attack,” “D.O.A.,” and “Covering Fire” as some of the more inventive songs on the album. That’s not to say that “Killing Tendencies” isn’t without its merits — even with it’s slowed pace, it slays like all get out and has a solid Testament-like flavor.

Havok are one of those bands in the new wave of old school thrash that still have a fighting chance to survive the eventual sun-setting of the fad when it comes. They’ve obviously got the skills to handle the style. They just need to start injecting their own influence into the mix to keep their forward momentum from slowing. Time Is Up is one hell of an album as it stands, but I hope it’s not the extent of where these guys can take their brand of thrash.