Havok have been thrashing and smashing their way to recognition ever since forming in 2004. 2009’s debut album Burn and 2011’s follow-up Time Is Up were both open love letters to late-80’s thrash metal in the vein of Nuclear Assault, Exodus and Anthrax, and Unnatural Selection, you’ll be pleased to hear, doesn’t deviate from the formula musically, although lyrically it seems they may be trying to be a little more serious.
‘I Am The State’ and ‘Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death’ open the album up and even the titles alone point to a more political lyrical stance, along with a punkier influence that pure thrash metal always has but it’s bubbling away nearer the surface on these songs. However, ‘It Is True’ balances this out with an Anthrax-style main riff and vocal melody that could have been left over from the State Of Euphoria sessions. Elsewhere, the explosive title track and ‘Living Nightmare’ threaten to remind you that Havok are no mere thrash revivalists and have enough personality of their own to create some truly great metal on their own terms.
Amongst the metal thrashing madness Havok do manage to find the balls to recreate a classic by covering Black Sabbath’s immortal ‘Children Of The Grave’, a version which sticks closely to the original in structure but at the same time sounds totally fresh, which is a good description of what Havok do overall as a band. Unnatural Selection is feisty and angry enough to keep the purists happy and sounds modern and vital enough to appeal to newcomers, whilst maybe not being quite as consistent in the songwriting department as Time is Up. Nevertheless, it shows a little progression and, with the likes of Megadeth and Anthrax producing stinkers and stop-gap EP’s respectively, may open them up to a wider and more appreciative audience.