Having been around for a while now, Havok have proven themselves to be worthy torch-bearers for the continuation of thrash metal. Their latest and fourth contribution is the simply-titled V, chock full of clear-cut sociopolitical themes and eviscerating metal goodness. The ripping opener track “Post-Truth Era”, referring to a term bandied about to describe the technological manipulation and fracturing of objective truth by means of algorithmic division proves this as much; beginning true-to-form with a swelling “Blackened”-esque intro before launching what amounts to an extremely moshable track. The gloriously old-school headbanger “Fear Campaign” swipes hard at the mainstream media, lyrically setting a dystopian and ever-so-metal tone for the album similar to 2017’s Conformicide.
“Betrayed By Technology” goes beyond regular tropes about mass control and speaks of technology being a monster of man’s creation that will wreak havoc on man himself, even tinging upon themes of transhumanism: “Betrayed by technology, transcending biology/It’s coming worldwide.” “Ritual Of The Mind”, while still identifiably Havok in the end is a perfectly acceptable pastiche of Megadeth and Metallica elements, evoking bits and pieces of …And Justice For All early on. “Interface With The Infinite” puts the core sonic dynamics of V to good use; amounting to a sea of taps and chugging riffs with a solid solo to go.
Entering off the eerie interlude “Dab Tsog”, The neck-snapping “Phantom Force” is the speediest, shredding-est track yet without even a hint of competition. “Cosmetic Surgery” packs half the velocity but matches the punch; starting in a hammering fashion similar to Decapitated’s “Spheres To Madness” before graduating into straight-up thrash once more lashing against those that manipulate the truth. “Panpsychism” sounds like a Tool track from its preface but clearly isn’t: the 6-and-a-half minute odyssey starts as a winding acoustic piece, evolving into an orgy of riffery and bass-spanking before switching into rapid-fire thrash mode and back again- running the gamut indeed.
“Merchants Of Death”, an attack on interventionist foreign policy follows a similarly relentless path albeit without the length and stark stylistic changes, a showcase for some deadly drumwork as well. The 8-minute “Don’t Do It” closes things out- a clear statement against, or contemplating suicide, similar to Pantera’s “Suicide Note” I and II it starts slow and unassuming (though a bit more purely metal at first in this case) before unfolding into its true, ripping, unrelentless form. The gloom, doom then rip up the room approach taken to “Don’t Do It” makes for an epic finale to V, sensical and thoroughly satisfying by the standards of any record.
With V, Havok have come all the way through to prove their prowess, brutality and unapologetic fury; all elements of a great metal band meant to endure. You don’t second guess where they stand, neither do you question their ability to deliver the goods after they make a record like this. Best of luck to them and continued success- and hopefully they can hit the road with this new collection of hard-hitting tunes before long.