Nima : Since the release of their debut, [urk=http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/nlenreviews/view/id/14517]‘Burn’[/url] (2009), Havok has deserved itself quite a name and reputation in the thrash regions. With three solid records this American quartet has already proved itself time after time and has progressed with each record, but has also remained true to its old-school thrash roots.
With the (digital) singles ‘Hang ‘Em High’ and ‘Ingsoc’ the band had already revealed a bit of what was to come. The first single fully convinced me, but the technical ‘Ingsoc’ didn’t do anything for me at all. After hearing ‘Ingsoc’ I must say that I had my doubts about the fourth LP. Well, ‘Conformicide’ basically continues where ‘Unnatural Selection’ left off. Was it however the groove that had the upper hand on the last album, on ‘Conformicide’ the emphasis lies a lot more on the technical approach. Something that immediately strikes on the opening track, ‘F.P.C.’, are the technical bass lines, that remind of bands like Cynic, Coroner and co.. And especially these bass lines return more often on this album. Purely from a musical and technical view the gentlemen have outdone themselves on every front, and have delivered their strongest album to date. When it comes to the feel however, this is the least interesting for me so far, there I prefer a more straightforward approach.
Well I’m not unfamiliar nor hostile towards technique and definitely appreciate bands such as Coroner, Death, Nocturnus for example, but in this case the technical drivel – regardless of how impressive they are – go at the cost of the spontaneity, and especially the intensity. For me the flow of the record is constantly disturbed, losing my attention frequently. That’s a pity, because the speedy, aggressive and highly wrought-up straightforward thrash pieces that this band is known for, sound stronger than ever, and frequently summon the Gosse Bumps. In my opinion the fantastic and highly catchy riffs constantly get interrupted and “held back”, due to which the ultimate climax never comes. That unlike the first two records, and especially ’Time Is Up’, that peaked frequently. And so the final score is the average of technique/song writing/musicality (90) and the overall feel (70).
All in all ‘Conformicide’ is definitely a solid record, and the band once again proves to possess a lot more capabilities. Also on a sound technical level this is the best Havok album so far, and fans of technical old-school thrash (and thrasy death metal) can purchase this album without a second of doubt. Personally I rather put on the first two album again.