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It must kill Havok that time travel cannot be achieved. Based on the approach this American thrash band takes throughout "Time is Up," it's pretty damn obvious Havok loves Exodus, Slayer, Megadeth, and the remaining 80s thrash juggernauts so much that a restraining order might not be a bad idea for these legendary bands. After all, they sometimes mirror the instrumentality of said-bands to the point of awkwardness, but the dudes of Havok somehow manage to sway "Time is Up" into a semi-enjoyable, semi-consistent plateau hell-bent on conjuring an audio assault so rabid even a straight-jacket couldn't settle it down. Some call them a second-rate tribute band, others a steel guardian of thrash, but based on "Time is Up," I think both claims might have some truth to them.
I suppose my only guff with this record is its undeniable lack of identity. On the other hand, Havok is masterful at finding the nitro-stuffed riffs that blaze faster than the speed of light and pretty spot-on when generally mimicking the thrash blueprint. Things ignite with "Prepare For Attack," an 80s thrash number that burns with speedy riffs and sharp curves which scream Slayer worship before falling into "Fatal Intervention," which is probably the record's best track because it features a sarcastic middle-eastern melody alongside the thrashing madness, and it surprisingly adds a lot of beef to the song's structure. The album progresses into melodic territory for half of “D.O.A.” and the chorus-driven “Killing Tendencies” which kind of reminds me of newer Kreator, which, although good, fails to match Havok’s other numbers due to the absence of exciting riffs or memorable hooks. “The Cleric” likewise plods along as a generic thrasher that brings nothing memorable or noteworthy to the album; it’s a bland collection of tepid leads, sub-par riffs, and banal melodies submerged in predictability.
But things finally offset and get back on track with "Get Out of My Way" and the title track, which once again are based heavily on blazing riffs, chugging mid-paced sections, and adrenaline-fueled aggression filled with so much energy that both songs could substitute coffee based on their hatefulness and electricity. The individual performances are pretty much the vanilla flavor of thrash, with a raspy vocalist able to grunt like Zetro and shout like Tom Araya, melting leads, and punishing percussion overloading on speed. Havok doesn't take originality very serious, but their ability to write consistent tracks outweighs that little dilemma pretty significantly; quite the desirable outcome, especially for the direction.
The production gives the album an edge of smuttiness that matches Havok’s attitude perfectly, and there’s no doubt “Time is Up” completely schools a number of retrogressive factions trying to reignite the flame of 80s thrash. On the other hand, “Time is Up” can’t hold a candle to the classics that Havok owes its ass to, but I honestly don’t feel like that’s the point. Havok are those party-throwing, beer-chugging, head-banging heroes that want everyone to have a good time, and if that was their intention here, then they glowingly achieved maximum satisfaction. I wouldn't say it's an essential purchase, but the record is definitely worth a listen.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com