Havok Time Is Up

Havok Time Is Up
Four albums into their career, Denver, CO's most recognized thrash act have their sound and style down to a science: rage away for a couple of minutes, pare everything back for a pummelling bridge, incite some fist-pumping via a rousing chorus then steamroll through a blazing guitar solo. While that's not a bad thrash cocktail, it's still little more than adhering to the genre's traditional aspects. Therefore, it's a matter of how well the band relay their double-time drum beats, dizzying guitar fills that counter the ample low-end chugging and a singer reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson after drinking a jug of bleach. To that extent, Time Is Up is a thrash metal brick shit house: unsurprising, but certainly not about to collapse from a sturdy push. Havok's modest variations and idiosyncrasies are solid, but tend to become predictable by track six or seven: lots of Razor-esque chants, mosh-inspiring halftime breaks and the like. Yes, the confines of thrash dictate little wiggle room but eventually, Time Is Up just feels upper-middle class. It's not scraping the bottom of the barrel, but neither is it varied enough to attain the loftiness of supreme originality, which would carry them beyond slugging it out indefinitely. While this is a sturdy outing bolstered by production from matchless guitarist/engineer James Murphy, without some seriously unforgettable guitar lines, as opposed to endless galloping, Time Is Up is more of a consolation prize when Testament, Nuclear Assault or Exodus albums aren't within immediate reach. (Candlelight)