By Dr. Abner Mality

There is a tendency to compare the newer thrash bands to the pioneer bands of the 80’s. It is fair to say that Havok’s closest comparison would be Megadeth. After all, both bands have overtly political and social lyrics as well as a technical approach to thrash. “Conformicide” is the band’s fourth record and their first for Century Media. If you’re a fan of that Megadeth style of thrash, then “Conformicide” should trip your trigger, so to speak.

The record doesn’t have any real “blow away” tracks or moments, yet it’s a very smooth and consistent listen. The precision of the playing is evident right away and you realize Havok is a band that is not just about speed and fury. The raspy and hateful vocals of David Sanchez provide a lot of the anger and intensity here. A lot of black metal vocalists wouldn’t be able to match his spite here…during “Intention To Deceive”, there’s a moment where he spits out the word “Bullshit!” and it somehow sums up his contempt for modern society. Almost all of the lyrics here are bitter and barbed attacks at politics, religion and the idiocy of mass culture.

The bass guitar plays a prominent role here, too. There’s some funky slapping on “F.P.C.”  that’s almost in the Primus vein and the instrument is easily audible throughout the album. As stated before, there’s no truly awe-inspiring tracks here but also there are no duds. I thought “Hang ‘Em High”, “Ingsoc” (inspired by “1984”) and “Claiming Certainty” were highlights…a serviceable cover of Pantera’s “Slaughtered” is also included.

A mature work of technical thrash, “Conformicide” will see Havok gaining respect.