Written by Alex Stojanovic
Betrayed By Technology
Ritual Of The Mind
Interface With The Infinite
Merchants Of Death
Don't Do It
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Label: Century Media Records
David Sanchez - Lead vocals & guitars / Reece Scruggs - Lead guitars / Pete Webber - Drums / Brandon Bruce - Bass
The album begins with the thrashy triple shot of "Post-Truth Era", "Fear Campaign" and "Betrayed By Technology". The main riff in "Fear Campaign" sounds like a riff you would hear on a racing video game. For the longest time, I was always on the fence about David Sanchez's vocals. For a thrash vocalist, I find his high notes a bit too much on the screechy side, kind of sounding like nails on a chalkboard. "Ritual Of The Mind" seems to pay homage to Metallica, because the main mid-tempo galloping riff and groove fades in slowly, pretty much like "Eye Of The Beholder", and the double-kick section at the end gives off a vibe similar to "One", with a little mix of Gojira. As a matter of fact, the Metallica influence is so strong on almost this whole album. You can tell that the intro to "Post-Truth Era" was inspired by "Blackened".
Metallica isn't the only influence here. It goes without saying that as soon as you hear the opening riffs and fills of "Phantom Force", the first thing band that comes to mind is Slayer. To my ears, it sounds like they've created their own version of "War Ensemble". The closing track "Don't Do It" is the longest song on the album. The clean intro is also very Slayer-esque, sounding very much like something off Seasons In The Abyss. It's a mid-tempo groover of a track for the most part, with a faster thrashy section towards the end, which doesn't really last too long, and it closes with an acoustic outro.
One thing about Havok that nobody seems to address, but is so obvious, is the amount of bass players that they've gone through in their fifteen years of existence. Ever since Burn came out in 2009, they've had a different bassist on each album that came after, which makes us all wonder how long Brandon Bruce is going to last before the next album. Now, I don't say that with hate, it's merely an observation. Trivium have been a target for this kind of joke for going through several drummers, but I just found it kind of weird that nobody ever said anything about Havok going through the amount of bass players that they have.
To sum it up, V as a whole, seems like a collection of the same re-used riffs we've heard in thrash a million times already, and pretty uninspired lyrics. Lyrically, when Conformicide came out, much of the criticism for that album was pointed to the lyrics, which sounded like they were all based on conspiracy theories. If you weren't a fan of the lyrics on Conformicide, then I highly doubt that you'll be enjoying the lyrics on this album. While many of those cliche thrash riffs always sound great, especially with the great production, the album certainly struggles to stay afloat. The front half contains the better collection of riffs and whole songs, while the back half seems very lackluster.
Highs: Production is a huge improvement over the last couple of albums.
Lows: David Sanchez's screechy vocals and many recycled thrash riffs.
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