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Review of the Album "Conformicide" by American Thrash Metal Band Havok

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Conformicide Has a Cover Song On It

Denver Colorado thrash metal band Havok has established themselves in the US thrash metal scene and they are taking their lyrical approach to a new level incorporating a lot of political themes on their 4th studio album called “Conformicide.” While that may turn off some music fans, don’t let the political based lyrics keep you away from the best modern US thrash metal band. In this album just like their 2013 studio album Unnatural Selection, there is a cover song that these guys do and this time, that song is Pantera’s song Slaughtered. This one is David Sanchez’s way of doing this song and it is one of those songs that I really used to like way back in the day in 1994 and 1995. David provides both a raspy and a rough version of the song

Songs such as F.P.C. are influenced by Peace Sells era Megadeth which is not a surprising thing considering the influence that Megadeth has had on other bands and Havok is no exception to this. Dogmaniacal is a song that I would say is trying to point out what happens when people get too blinded by religious ideology. Regardless of what the song says, GOD would never want us to obliterate our own neighbor. People who do not have a conscience and are just following orders are pursuing a path that will lead to their ruin. I would not say that the song is an anti-Christian song but it is a song trying to point out that we should not be brainwashed by fanatics that want to push across their brand of religion.

"String Break"

Intention to Deceive is a Significant Song

Intention to Deceive is a song that is influenced by Southern California’s Slayer and you can tell by listening to the riffing structure of the song. Some people in their intention to deceive others will oppose the freedom of independent thought as the song says and they will try to push their own narrative across. At least Havok’s lyrics are thought provoking and they really make you think about the most important issues of our time. That’s an asset for any band. These kinds of themes are not new but Havok has expanded upon them and they really bring up these subjects for thought. Do the lyrics of the song Intention to Deceive remind you of something? Can you guess what the song brings up for thought? The song lyrically brings up something that is a part of the news cycle today which is the Trump Administration’s intention to use misinformation to deceive the public.

Through the initial listen of Conformicide, a true fan of thrash metal will see this album for what it is: an album that is a very good modern Megadeth and Annihilator influenced thrash metal from the United States that is one of the best albums of 2017!

"Slaughtered" Pantera Cover

One Con About Conformicide But It is Not a Big One

However, this album isn’t perfect because the punk inspired song String Break sounds like the band Napalm Death and it is 44 seconds of space that should not have been in the album that is full of very well played modern thrash metal. Other than that. “Conformicide” is a really good album and probably just as good as Unnatural Selection in 2013.

"Claiming Certainty"

A More Detailed Analysis of 2017's Conformicide

"Conformicide" gets off to a rather interesting start as the acoustic guitar starts this one off. The acoustic section in the song F.P.C. is a combination of Kalmah and Testament influenced guitars as the bass lines then come in as this heavy song is lyrically about what happens in a society when free speech becomes suppressed and dissent is silenced. The mid-section of this song sounds kind of like Devils Island. Hang ‘Em High is a song that continues with the politically inspired themes as the song is about the fact that the US government is what the problem is as many of these politicians turn their backs on the people that they were elected to serve. It is almost like a group of snakes that are just looking for more prey and the United States has been turned into a country with a super dishonest government as this song is trying to point out. Even thrash metal is a genre of metal that has evolved. It has come a very long way from being just a genre of raw sounds or fast riffing. It has these two attributes as well as more melody and better vocals. Conformicide is an album that has only a small section or part of the album that does not belong. That bad part of the album is so infinitesimally small that it is like a small con that really would not significantly affect the finished product. “Ingsoc” is a song that lyrically tries to say that what happens in a society that is overcome by fear is that the population becomes controlled and they lose their ability to live and have the freedom of thought. “Masterplan” is a song that addresses the social diseases of war, famine, and death while trying to suggest that the Lord isn’t really working in mysterious ways. There are those who say that there isn’t a God and that it is just human nature that causes these problems. The song though is saying that as a consequence of living on this Earth, there is much war, famine, and disease. Is Conformicide the best album in Havok’s career? It is really tough to say since Unnatural Selection was solid as well. Having songs that criticize organized religion such as Claiming Certainty might turn off some fans because the song is trying to say that organized religion such as believing in the teachings of the Bible is flawed and wrong. From a musical standpoint though, Claiming Certainty is one of the best fast songs that any band could write. If the album did not have the short song String Break, it would have been close to elite and flawless. The highlights of the album are pretty much most of the songs just like Kreator’s Enemy of God album.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian