If you are remotely aware of the Bay Area thrash sound revival, then you’ve heard the name Havok. Formed (2,000 kilometres east of San Francisco) in Denver, Colorado in 2004, Havok had the standard small beginnings. Vocalist and guitarist David Sanchez set out to start a killer band. He recruited a drummer and some other fellas who all enjoyed the same style of tuneage and set out to start something. Like most bands, they did some covers of the classics, like Metallica, to get off their feet.
“When I heard ‘Battery’ by Metallica I shit my pants,” exclaims only remaining band member David Sanchez.
Eventually they would put out a demo, called Thrash Can (2004). Soon after, they would pull their socks up and get proper about a release. After a couple more releases, like the Murder by Metal single in 2006 and the Pwn ‘Em All EP in 2007 that was the first demo re-recorded, 2009 came around and they would release their debut album. Burn was released on Candlelight records would come out and start making its rounds in the thrash circles of the world. After a couple more singles and a solid lineup change that would eventually become THE lineup, they would come out with an album that made their name explode. Time Is Up took the thrash scene by storm, appearing in everyone’s download folders. With a strong sound reminiscent of early Metallica and Exodus, these guys wanted to demonstrate that they were the real deal. Thus touring ensued; the band was finally doing what they always dreamed.
“We’ve toured the entire world outside of Africa and Antarctica. It’s a dream come true.” Fast-forward to 2013. Havok was on the prowl, ripping up gigs left, right ‘n’ centre, yet put out another album, entitled Unnatural Selection, on top of recruiting bassist Mike Leon to replace Jesse De Los Santos.
“Riffs are back in style. If you don’t have the riffs, you don’t have a good song,” says Sanchez of the album, which differs from their previous output. Indeed, the slightly different approach to song writing heard on Unnatural Selection threw some long-time fans off.
“We have unquestionably matured since Burn. The evolution of Havok has been very steady and natural.”
Nowadays Havok is touring North America. Still on the diverse label, Candlelight Records (home to the kings of American black metal, Absu, among others), Havok shows no sign of turning down the amps.
“We are really excited to play shows like Farmageddon this year. This is the most dates we’ve ever had in Canada!”
These guys will be playing Calgary, Edmonton, Farmageddon (which is host to killer acts this year, like Sanctuary and Riot City) and many others. Be sure not to miss these guys. If you are into thrash in the vein of early Metallica and revival bands like Warbringer and Bonded By Blood, then check out Havok.
See Havok headline Farmageddon Open Air Metal Fest on Sunday, June 15. The festival runs from Thursday, June 12 until Sunday, June 15 in Edmonton, Alberta and off Highway #14 near Ryley, Alberta. They also play in Calgary on Saturday, June 14 at the Palomino Smokehouse and Bar with Wretched, Doberman, and Shrapnel.
By Dan Neild
Photo: Ester Segarra