Here we are at the beginning of a brave new year and thrash metal is still shining bright. The genre is in renaissance mode right now thanks to a never ending slew of fresh underground releases from upstart bands of young dudes who weren't even born when the genre masterpieces were released. Havok are no exception and judging by the promo pics courtesy of their label, the quartet hasn't grown ample chest hair yet. But lo and behold Havok have been plying their brand of pure thrash for several years and Time Is Up marks a graduation of sorts from pure obscurity to underground renown. (Thanks to signing with Candlelight.)
Even those who haven't listened to the band's previous efforts would rank Time Is Up among the better 'new' thrash albums of the last couple of years. Sure, the formula for such a release is practically carved in stone nowadays: Rapid fire riffs, ugly snarling vocals, jackhammer drums, and a generous helping of molten guitar shred. Still, between the tribute makers and the true crusaders, Havok's passion for the mosh places them in the latter category. They're pretty sick songwriters too and would do nicely in a back to back tour with sci-fi thrash purveyors Vektor, who are among the elite in the New Wave of American Thrash Metal (NWOATM for short) when it comes to mind-bending musicianship.
But Havok aren't that technical to begin with and a lot of stuff inside Time Is Up smells of been there, done that. It can't be helped considering how crowded the scene is at the moment and every label is either signing a cult band from the 80s for a comeback or signing a new band who will release an album in the spirit of the 80s. Isn't it great to be a thrash band these days?
This writer is sure Havok definitely think so and it's heard throughout the rumbling, brawling, crushing rollercoaster that's Time Is Up. The album cranks open with a vicious fusillade of riffs blazing away under the fitting title Prepare for Attack. Leaving no room for subtlety, the album starts to boil around No Amnesty and reaches its plateau once the slow paced Killing Tendencies launches. A pile driving thrash barrage of a title track finishes the whole ride on a Slayer note as the album waves farewell in characteristic thrash fashion, abrupt and unapologetic. Consider this recommended.