Havok plays a thrash metal that sounds like it’s straight from the 80’s, which has its benefits and its drawbacks. Havok has immense talent, there’s no doubt about that. They were recently signed to Candlelight records, if that’s any indication of their ability. The problem with bands that emulate Metallica and Testament so much is that it’s hard for them to develop their own sound. Seeing as Havok’s guitars and vocals sound exactly like the bands mentioned above, the question is what do they bring that’s new? Unless they expect to out write and out play Testament, they will always be flawed.
This album definitely has many fantastic riffs and ideas throughout its 12 songs. They are filled with some shredding solos and head banging rhythm lines. You may be enjoying the album for its nostalgic feel, but then you stumble across the song “Identity Theft.” The song condemns those who don’t have their own identity. The chorus is something like “Identity theft. Who are you? Identity theft. Find something new.” That’s just the problem with this band. It’s all been done before; they haven’t found something new. It is unfortunate that such a hypocritical song has such fantastic solo sections, and such a great pumping finale. According to Havok’s myspace they bring an increased technicality to the thrash genre, but, while their playing ability is very crisp and speedy, thrash metal is already a pretty technical genre to begin with, so the difference is minimal.
“Category of the Dead” does offer a real kick compared to the majority of Burn; plus, it comes complete with fun gang vocals. Another noteworthy song is “Afterburner,” which utilizes more vocal variety, and a nice high scream.
If you are seeking really powerful, feel-good, thrash then Hirax’s new album is a much better choice, but if you’re curious about how Colorado does thrash metal, and want to hear some really uplifting solos, then check out Burn. Though the album may be lacking, Havok are definitely great live.