I’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.
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.