Havok – Conformicide (2017) REVIEW

Been there, done that.

Alright, I’m gonna be a dick for no good reason here. Fair warning. Oh man, what if Megadeth never made ‘Rust in Peace’ and instead took songwriting tips from future-Anthrax and ended up with ‘Conformicide’? I mean that is far too friendly a comparison, this is actually more like an ill-concieved attempt at a follow up to Rust in Peace. The annoying thing about retro-thrash bands being occasionally good is that they end up getting signed to larger labels and fulfilling talent-restricted ambitions to tribute their favorites. The weird thing is that I saw and heard all of this on Havok’s previous album ‘Unnatural Selection’ and totally fell for it because they were playing my jam in an energetic way. It ruled. I think it is a great idea to take the best of Megadeth and add a touch of ‘The Art of Rebellion’ or ‘Among the Living’ to keep things from getting overly serious and staunchly political. Back then thrash worked on bigger scale because it didn’t take itself so damn seriously, you could have fun while snarking your snaggle-tooth at the political corruption that destroys our lives. I just don’t think some slap bass and hissin-n-spittin’ make this album enough ‘fun’ to hold up to the classics.

Photo by @kristinkestersonphoto

The scariest thing about being a human being in 2017 is seeing gang-like cyber violence against unpopular opinions becoming an identity and occasionally art-deleting witch hunt… until I realized what could only be worse is a popular thrash band finding the socio-political climate of the day as cause for some hideously forceful lyrical content. I can only imagine the number of people who saw Megadeth was popular only to find Beavis on vocals saying corny shit about the Reagan administration. I’ve aged? Whats my problem? Yeah thrash metal is maybe 45% politics inspired lyrically speaking, and I think there is a right way to do it the same way there is a right way to write a thrash riff in 2017. These guys refuse to use Satan’s batteries to power their guitars and instead rely on good old ideas done well. This path has been so well tread I almost can’t appreciate the talent and skill, the passion it takes to make a record like this. The lyrics are no different but they aren’t catchy or good. All I hear is a thrash album that sounds like a damn good thrash album but isn’t much of one. Havok are sort of boring to me by default because they’ve really done nothing with Thrash Metal outside of polishing off their favorites and stitching them together. ‘Conformicide’ is an Alex Jones level contradiction as retro thrash popularized through nostalgia trends that has been boosted by high production values just feels… dirty.

It’s too long, has a similar pacing throughout. The last album was way better. The drumming is bland. The cover art is ugly. ‘Conformicide’ would be conformity statistically if everyone did it at once, rendering the entire concept (and word) logistically obsolete to THIS GUY.


Three star thrash. 3.0/5.0