Friday, August 23, 2013

15 Aug 13 - Havok

Metal up your night with SouthSide, blogspot readers!

Tonight's special On The Town adventure had this reviewer getting her metal on with the touring band HAVOK at Ultra Lounge. From Denver, Co, this band since its incarnation has opened for other bands like Forbidden, Anthrax and Death Angel and released two albums - Burn (2009) and Time Is Up (2011) as well as current release, Unnatural Selection. Recently the guys traveled to Montreal, Canada for the Heavy MTL Fest and Bogota, Columbia where they performed in front of an estimated crowd of 45,000 at the Rock Al Parque which also featured Cannibal Corpse and Symphony X. According to David Sanchez, front man and guitarist of the band, their experience in Columbia was "...surreal..." And we're barely touching the iceberg on HAVOK's rising achievements within the music scene thus far, blogspot readers, when SouthSide was granted an in depth interview with David about the band, its music and songwriting process and how much blood there might be during the show.

Describing the band as ", tight, heavy and groovy...", David explained to SouthSide that HAVOK likes to play fast in front of their fans making an effort to be tight and heavy in the music business for distribution. "I'm in it to win it," says HAVOK's front man while being very honest and blunt about the distribution part to SouthSide's question. When briefly touching on the band's Billboard and other achievements, he humbly stated " was surprising..." Quite so since the release of Unnatural Selection, they hit #154 on Billboard's top 200, #44 on Billboard Independent and #3 on Billboard Heatseeker and went from opening for other touring bands to now headlining their own tour. Yet, he and the band are taking their good fortune in stride despite noting in the eyes of the music industry, they're still little HAVOK. And what about groovy? Well, in a nutshell, blogspot readers, they simply just are. Even though only chatting with David during the interview, the other members of HAVOK were very down to earth and itching to get on stage to rock out the metalheads in attendance at tonight's show. Speaking of the show, SouthSide asked what could she expect from the band as they rock out the Ultra Lounge stage to which David responded "...[we] hope to send everyone home with a sore neck and lost voice from screaming..." also adding there would be "...lots of head banging ...performing some songs off the current album [Unnatural Selection] and some off the others..." She was told to expect the show to have high energy as well. "...we want to make sure everyone has a good time..." because HAVOK knows people didn't pay money to see four guys standing on stage. And having a good time, blogspot readers, means more than head banging. HAVOK wants you to get rowdy ...mosh ...stage dive (if allowed at the venue) ...rock out during their show.

Overall, HAVOK certainly didn't disappoint in the performance department, blogspot readers. The band did more than just rock everyone's faces off with fast, loud thrash metal music. There was thrilling shreds of guitar riffs, heart-pounding thunderous percussion rhythms and raw animalistic vocals that not only filled the venue part of Ultra Lounge but instantly delighted metal fans to respond accordingly as David expected they would. So beware, blogspot readers. If you're not one for wild pushing, shoving or moshing in front of the stage at a HAVOK performance, it's best you stand near the back and watch the action safely from there. During this show - there were tense moments when the fans were pretty wild. Also, be on the lookout for intense periods of flying long locks of hair swirling and swinging to and fro on stage by band members especially during the hard-hitting instrumental bridges when they  get thoroughly deep within the music. Yet, behind HAVOK's intense thrash metal sound, SouthSide heard the call for "thinking for ourselves" and revolution of "real" change within some of the band's songs for like It's True and Give Me Liberty ...or Give Me Death - two in which David highly suggests listening. "...people need to think for themselves..." quips HAVOK's front man adamantly, "...if the majority of the populous started thinking for themselves, things could change for the better..." David also told this reviewer that he didn't have to go far to find his lyrical inspiration because so much is happening in the news and world these days. "...lots of stuff happening in the world..." However compared to the other two album releases, Unnatural Selection boasts of a more collaborative effort amongst the band members but when it comes down to the composition and arrangement, blogspot readers,  he believes he's better lyricist than guitarist.

As a lyricist, David definitely moved the fans not only rock out along with the band but also did more to incite bouts of fist pumping and head banging from them, blogspot readers. His words did cause some react with rowdy responses of the "Hell yeah" here and there ...agreeing to the front man's point of views about society's need to "...wake up ...and getting their heads out of their asses..." during It's True and during Give Me Liberty (which was dedicated to those who give a flying fuck about what's going on) where his vocals vented such powerful anger and distaste for what's going on with this country today. Within his raw primal state, he encouraged everyone to wake up ...take notice ...get involved by stop turning a blind eye to what's going on around them. Yes, blogspot readers, thrash metal is the best place to get people politically involved and socially aware at the same time. With the electric fury dominating both songs to the point where you can definitely feel the intense riffs melting your face off and ripping the ears, SouthSide noticed many getting serious bouts of whiplash from all of the head banging action going near the front of the stage. This reviewer also suggests listening to Point Of No Return - primal vocals and expressive body language make great stage presence as well as help further your thrilling experience under HAVOK's hardcore electric wizardry and fierce metal sound and off their Time Is Up album, Scumbag In Disguise - where head banging to the max was the rage, blogspot readers, as David violently roars over the mic like a ferocious beast in heat since you are meant to feel every drip of his heated anger. Plus during this particular song, be on the lookout for heart-racing crescendo rises off the guitars and plenty of thunderous drum rhythms designed to keep your head in whiplash mode til the very end before rocking out to D.O.A. and Unnatural Selection. Any time is a good time to mosh during a HAVOK performance but one thing was for sure ...there would be a few stiff necks in the morning. And that, blogspot readers, was one of the band's goals for the night.

Briefly during the interview, this reviewer and David talked about using social media to help in band promotion. "...oversaturation can be a problem..." says David but added, "...when a band takes advantage [of it] in the right way, the sky's the limit..." And now for something more lighthearted - what's HAVOK dream concert lineup? Well, it would consist of opening for Metallica, Iron Maiden, Mr. Bungle and more with stand-up comedians in between acts. "...Why hasn't anyone done this?!" wonders David. Good question. It's very interesting concept, blogspot readers, especially since the poor comedian would be pelted with beer cans if the joke delivery falls flat. In parting, David and band would like to thank everyone who has come to the show ...bought a t-shirt or CD and/or told their friends about the band. "...thanks for supporting the show ...without you, we're nothing..."

SouthSide highly suggests feeding your metal monster with HAVOK at their next show at a city or venue near you. Be prepared for some heavy whiplash action, blood (didn't happen during their Chicago appearance) and intensely wild fan reaction in the mosh pits near the stage. This band will melt your faces off before leaving you with a very sore neck and no voice the next day. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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