• Audiocide - A review of Havok's ''Conformicide''

    Havok - Conformicide (2017)

    A band called Havok, an album cover with an illuminated skull and a Pantera cover song are strong indicators that this quartet is another aggressive nu thrash metal band. This approach can only work if the band either finds its own niche musically or is rightfully mad and delivers clear political statements that would rather come from a punk band. However, the band fails on both levels and this is what makes Conformicide particularly difficult to sit through.

    The opening song is always a strong indicator for the rest of the album, so let's listen to it. ''F.P.C.'' stand for ''Fuck Political Correctness''. I don't know why the band didn't write this out but maybe they weren't even convinced of their own vapid message. Let's talk about the music instead. Occasional groove and thrash metal riffs meet funky slap bass sounds, up-tempo pop punk drumming with unnecessary blast beats thrown into the mixture and annoying vocals somewhere between hoarse shouts and weird spoken word experiments. Some people might say that this mixtures seems to be quite experimental but it's a perfect example of a failed experiment where too many ideas lead to a confusing potpourri. This song sounds like a revamped version of Exodus' and Megadeth's worst moments increased by ten with a shot of Blink-182 and Pantera. If that sounds bad to you, expect something even worse. Musically, this might however even be the best song on the album.

    The other tracks aren't as experimental and all over the place as the opening disaster but stick continuously to the same tired Exodus-meets-Pantera-in-a-negative-way approach. The mixture of clinical production, one-dimensional song structures and whiny lyrics make for a quite soulless record despite its intention to spread moving messages. This band is as conform to exchangeable modern thrash metal as a case of Coors Light to a convenience store.

    Let's talk about the lyrics then. What is the band so mad about? Poverty in developing countries? Increasing homophobia and racism in their home country? The rise of terrorism in our world? The negative effects of climate change? The presidency of Donald Trump? No, the band decides to criticize successful businessmen, politically correct conformists, religious haze and the usual topics that have been treated a billion times before and fail to deliver a record on the pulse of time. Terms like death, disease, famine, genocide,radioactivity, slavery and war are used so randomly in the horrid ''Masterplan'' that it's almost disrespectfully shallow. Instead of addressing one concrete problem, the band talks about everything and nothing at the same time. Their lyrics against the system, no matter what aspect of it, remind me of the biased opinions of a pseudo-rebellious teenage punk band that plays improvised concerts in trailer parks before the members are going home to their parents’ basements to study for their Latin exam. The lyrics come off as biased, naive and superficial. No, I wasn't expecting lyrics about rose unicorns in wonderland but the fact that the band transmits exactly one single emotion and topic which is negativity gets quite tiring after a while.

    In the end, Havok have tried to grab metal by the pussy but have ended up falling flat on their arses. This record might sound good to you if you are fourteen years old, have never listened to thrash metal before and feel like being at war with society. For anyone else, just avoid this record altogether. The lyrics are embarrassing and almost laughable. The music rips off the usual genre suspects in a negative way without adding anything new to it. The production only increases potential headaches. I give that shiny new coaster ten percent because at least the band tried focusing on a concrete guiding line even if it didn't work out in my book. After all, Audiocide would have been a more appropriate title for that frisbee than Conformicide.

    Final rating: 10%

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