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Oct 242013

Dave Sanchez of HAVOK performing at The Social in OrlandoHAVOK came to Orlando with legendary Sepultura founder, Max Cavalera, and his band, Soulfly. I caught up with David for a quick interview out on the loading area behind The Social to talk about the current state of metal, world politics, heavy metal inspirato, and horror movies among other things.

HAVOK is a seriously bad ass thrash band that seems to have absorbed all that is great about classic metal, mixed it up, and spit it out with attitude, originality, and authenticity. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The geo-political and economic state of the world is screaming for good metal and punk, but I just haven’t found many bands that resonate. Indie music and hip hop are growing tiresome, but nothing heavy outside of alternative bands like Queens and the Pumpkins do anything for me. Mastodon is OK, but just a little too prog-y. New or Nu metal is too math-y and just lacks the chunky bite of colossal riffage that drew me to heavy metal to begin with. I just end up falling back on the greats: Slayer, Sepultura, pre-91 Metallica, Anthrax, and the like. HAVOK is the real deal:

Oct 242013

Max Cavalera of Soulfly at The Social in OrlandoI’ve lamented on the state of metal in previous posts. I don’t know if I’m just too old to care or metal just isn’t what it used to be and the puss-ification of America only underscores the lack of real heavy metal alternatives. My interview with David Sanchez of HAVOK confirmed some of of my suspicions. Tuesday night’s show was like a breath of fresh air – actually a choking gasp of smoke-filled, metalhead perspiration fart – that brought the crunching, classic sounds of Max Cavalera’s Soulfly and the revelation of a new (to me) thrash metal band that gets it right. The walls of The Social shuddered as the blistering volume of real metal and the swirling mosh pits did their best to reduce the place to rubble.

It sometimes seems that Soulfly is a loud, lazy shadow of what Sepultura was. The songs are short and focus on the devastating riffage and Max’s voice more than pulling off Sepultura classics and Soulfly tracks with precision. Six minute songs feel reduced to 3-minute medley versions of tracks. For instance, I’m sure “Arise” is a 5-minute song that clocks in a 2 and a half minutes at Soulfly shows. BUT it doesn’t matter once the bowel-shaking breakdown comes in the middle of the song. So it comes off as a punk twist to classic metal that Soulfly employs. I’m not sure if that even makes sense. Max’s gritty guitar skronk and thunderous, demonic vocal growls more than make up for anything missed. Add in the fact that his 20-year-old son, Zyon, is an absolute fucking beast on the drums and it is worth the price of admission.

Max Cavalera od Soulfly

Soulfly performing at The Social in Orlando, 2013


HAVOK is new to me and boy I’m glad I found them. There are strands of Slayer, Kreator, Overkill, Megadeth and other classic genius in their DNA, but they are able to churn up their influences and blast out angry, original, and totally for-real thrash metal. Hallelujah! Praise Satan. They are rock solid all the way around and deliver their set with machine gun precision.

*Mental note – Taking pictures at a thrash show is fucking pretty hard. I had to cradle my Canon 60D in my arm like a running back half of the time to ensure it wouldn’t be headbutted out of my hands and stomped to shit.

David Sanchez of HAVOK at The Social in Orlando

Reese Scruggs of HAVOK at The Social in Orlando

David Sanchez of HAVOK headbanging at The Social

Mike Leon of HAVOK at The Social in Orlando

Dave and Reese of HAVOK on stage at The Social in Orlando

Reese of HAVOK on stage at The Social in Orlando