I have to be honest and admit that, as the opening riffs to “I Am The State” ripped this album into life, my ears certainly did prick up. You see, having grown up in the ’80s as a bit of a “thrash kid”, the familiar Testament style sound to the guitars brought back a lot of good memories of sweaty mosh pits and hunting down bank-balance breaking amounts of obscure thrash vinyl however, sadly, times move on and, for me, a lot of this modern take on the thrash scene of old is not hitting the spot. Listening to Unnatural Selection, I’m sorry to say that I find myself listening to another album that suffers from exactly the same problems as the rest of them.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubting that American thrashers Havok certainly have the ability to knock out some decent ’80s inspired thrash; however, like most thrash metal albums these days, there is nothing particularly exciting about it. I think the problem is that if you look back at the albums and bands that clearly inspire Havok (Exodus, Testament etc.) and think of the excitement and almost danger that came with those bands when they burst onto the scene, listening to these Americans race through the likes of “It Is True” and “Waste Of Life”, you just can’t help but thinking “meh, whatever”.
Sure, they can shred like the best of them but, listening to the band shred through the likes of “Under The Gun”, you just don’t get that buzz you got from listening to “Into The Pit” or “Toxic Waltz” for the first time and this is the problem, Havok can play, but they can’t recapture that feeling that came with creating something new and exciting which, in turn, results in a fairly ordinary set of songs.
For the most part of my time spent listening to this album, there is a nagging doubt in the back of my head that, even if this had come out during the thrash heyday, would Havok have been nothing more than another name lost amongst the rest on those thrash all-dayers? Sadly, by the time the band are running through their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” towards the end of the album, I had the answer to that question.
01. I Am The State
02. Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death
03. It Is True
04. Under The Gun
05. Waste Of Life
06. Living Nightmare
07. Chasing The Edge
08. Worse Than War
09. Children Of The Grave
10. Unnatural Selection
Run Time: 48:00
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Check out the album ‘Unnatural Selection’