Thrash Unreal: Havok @ The Riot Room – August 17th, 2013
Havok might just be the most consistent quality band to come out of the thrash metal revival scene that exploded a few years ago. They forgo the Paul Baloff of Exodus style vocals and rely more on harshness, but for every killer riff and thrash break, the band has just as much groove and melody to not only induce headbanging and mosh pits, but impassioned sing-alongs.
The Denver 4-piece played to a good-sized crowd at the Riot Room on a warm Saturday night. Each song of theirs was fast-paced and full of aggression – no room for ballads here. With throwbacks to early Megadeth on songs like “D.O.A.” and “Unnatural Selection,” Havok shows that they can embody the spirit and musicianship of early ’80s thrash metal while keeping a fresh spin on the scene with modern riffing and attitude. A single Havok concert has more riffs than most bands have in their entire discography. Most of the set came from the band’s last two albums, but they threw in their heavy metal anthem “Afterburner” near the end that showed just how abrasive and heavy they were back in their early years as a band. The crowd was receptive all night, with multiple mosh pits starting up through the night and lots of headbanging in the whole venue. Havok gave 110% from the first note to the last and the crowd gave it right back. The band is on the brink of exploding, and it might be a while before we see them again in a venue the size of the Riot Room.
A trio of local bands opened the show. First band to play were metalcore veterans The Cast Pattern. They’ve steadily gotten better and better over the years, and this show was their heaviest yet. Despite only having one guitar, they emulate the riffing and dissonance of similar bands like Whitechapel or Job For A Cowboy. The Cast Pattern is the musical equivalent of getting backed over by a dump truck filled with dirt. In a good way.
The second band of the night was Dogs of Delphi. This band is making waves in the local scene despite their relative underground popularity. They pulled in a pretty big crowd early in the night – lots of fans were wearing their shirts. The band plays a style of groove metal that could be a stew of just about every Phil Anselmo-fronted band mixed into one. Very groove-laden and very fun. Dogs of Delphi got the crowd sufficiently warmed up.
Closing out the local bands was deathgrind stalwarts Troglodyte. Troglodyte isn’t just one of the best underground extreme metal bands in Kansas City or even in the Midwest, they are honestly one of the best-kept secrets in American extreme metal right now. They play supremely catchy yet brutal deathgrind that can incite as much headbanging as the giants of the genre, such as Origin (whose bassist, Mike Flores, also plays bass in Troglodyte!) The band has a great sense of humor that flows right into their B-Movie soundtrack of songs all about Bigfoot, murder, and Bigfoot murdering. If you haven’t seen Trog yet, you’re missing out!
Point of No Return
Give Me Liberty…or Give Me Death
Scumbag in Disguise
Under the Gun
I Am the State
From the Cradle to the Grave
Time Is Up