Monday, May 28, 2012

Point of No Return - Havok - 2012

Jesse De Los Santos' bass is boiling. It's churning. And it drives the title track and intro to Havok's ultra-brief EP, Point of No Return. David Sanchez's vocals, particularly at the chorus, are desperate and ragged in all the best possible ways and this is thrash that sounds immediate and passionate. Great riffing, a shining solo from Reece Scruggs - what's not to like? It sounds a lot like Time is Up, after all. Enter then, "From the Cradle to the Grave," propelled by Pete Webber and literally studded with riffs. Good stuff. Almost as good as... Time is Up. This would feel like a leftover repository if it weren't for...


...oh, some covers of old-school thrash classics.

This feels like a leftover repository.

Point of No Return succeeds most in that it compels one to pull Sepultura's Arise back off the shelf along with Slayer's Reign in Blood (and shame on whoever, if anyone, let that one sit on the shelf at all). The straightforward interpretations of "Arise" and "Postmortem"/"Raining Blood" are more than competent. They're admirable. And entirely unnecessary. Havok's acknowledgement of their influences comes through clearly in their sound, rendering covers redundant. Even the artwork leaves me cold here. If I got this free at a show, I'd be stoked. For eight bucks through the mail, though, Point of No Return may provide the most compelling argument in a long time for abandoning the physical format and cherry-picking individual digital tracks.

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