Havok is an American thrash metal band. Once just one of the many players in the retro-thrash boom, they managed to weather out the movement's collapse and persevered on, and it is through their hard work that they have become not just a major player in modern thrash, but in metal as a whole.
Formed in Denver, Colorado in 2004 by David Sanchez (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Shawn Chavez (lead guitar), Marcus Corich (bass), and Haakon Sjoegren (drums), they wasted no time in releasing the Thrash Can demo that same year. Corich and Sjoegren did not last, however, and by the next year, Richie Tice had taken the latter's old spot; it took until 2006 for Tyler Cantrell to fill the bass slot. 2006 also brought the Murder by Metal single, and while they were becoming a name on MySpace and the time, neither Cantrell nor Tice lasted through 2007. The former's spot was filled by his brother Justin, while the latter's spot was filled by Ryan Bloom. The Pwn 'Em All EP was also released that year and created something of a splash in the underground; encouraged by the praise, the band started shipping the EP out to various labels. Candlelight Records bit, and the band was soon a signed entity. Justin Cantrell left sometime around 2008, however, and the band managed to snag Jesse de los Santos for his spot. Burn, their full-length debut, was released in May of 2009 to positive reviews, though Bloom left right before the album's release. Rather than find a new full-time drummer with the prospect of touring ahead of them, they opted to draft Scott Fuller for the first few tours and were apparently considering making him full-time if things clicked with him, but they instead opted to go with Pete Webber as their new full-time drummer sometime in 2010. Chavez also quit in 2010 right before a major tour with Primal Fear; due to the short notice, they didn't even bother trying to find a fill-in, and Sanchez instead just opted to learn Chavez's leads and the band toured as a three-piece. After that tour had concluded, the band quickly welcomed in Reece Scruggs as their new lead guitarist, and recording for a second album began. Time Is Up was released in March of 2011 and was met with overwhelming praise; even detractors of the retro-thrash movement cited it as one of the few new albums that got it completely right. A blitz of touring followed, including an absolutely enormous North American tour with Skeletonwitch that spanned several months and hit virtually every state. The Point of No Return EP was also released that year, and by the end, de los Santos had left (one can't wonder if it wasn't due to the sheer length of the Skeletonwitch tour). A few months later, during an emergency fill-in for Overkill on the Denver date of Testament's winter 2013 US tour, the band announced that Mike Leon was their new bassist. Their third album, Unnatural Selection, dropped that same year, and more touring followed that stretched into 2014. They also announced a new deal with Century Media Records in 2014; by 2015, Leon had left to join Soulfly, and after a little buildup, they announced that Nick Schendzielos was his replacement. A late 2015 tour heralded the end of that year, but their biggest announcement yet truly sent it off in style: they were going to be supporting Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, and Children of Bodom on a winter 2016 tour. After completing that tour, they returned to the recording studio to bang out their fourth full-length, which is being completed at the time of writing.
- David Sanchez - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Pete Webber - drums
- Reece Scruggs - lead guitar, backing vocals
- Nick Schendzielos - bass, backing vocals
- Thrash Can (2004) - demo
- Murder by Metal (2006) - single
- Pwn 'Em All (2007) - EP
- Burn (2009)
- Fatal Intervention (2010) - single
- Scumbag in Disguise (2011) - single
- Time Is Up (2011)
- Point of No Return (2012) - EP
- Give Me Liberty... or Give Me Death (2013) - single
- Unnatural Selection (2013)
- Conformicide (2017)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Author Existence Failure: Shawn Chavez died in 2015.
- Badass Beard: Reece.
- Big Fun: Reece before he lost some weight.
- Child Popstar: Most of the band was in high school when they formed.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: That would be Nick, his strange sense of humor should frankly be common knowledge by now.
- Cover Version: They have covered "Postmortem" and "Raining Blood" (as one song, in this case), "Arise", "Children of the Grave", and "Slaughtered".
- Epic Rocking: "Ingsoc" (7:41), "Circling the Drain" (7:17), "Masterplan" (6:25), and "Waste of Life" (6:22).
- Heavy Meta: "Afterburner"
- I Am the Band: Subverted with David; he is the only remaining founder and the frontman, but he is not the sole songwriter and does not have absolute control over the rest of the band.
- Lead Bassist: Nick Schendzielos is a Type A.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 8 for their entire career, though some of Time Is Up goes into a hard 8/soft 9.
- New Sound Album: Each album since Burn:
- Time Is Up was a far more aggressive and technical (bordering on death/thrash at times) affair compared to the relatively straightforward Bay Area-styled thrash of Burn.
- Unnatural Selection was a distinctly more laid-back and mid-paced album to contrast the aggression of Time Is Up.
- Conformicide brings back some of the aggression of Time Is Up, but with a far more technical and complex approach that borders on Progressive Metal at times.
- Progressive Metal: Conformicide has shades of this.
- Protest Song: Their main lyrical theme.
- Revolving Door Band: They went through a ton of personnel in their early years; while Sanchez has been in from the start and both Scruggs and Webber have been in for close to six years each at this point, they still go through an awful lot of bassists.
- Special Guest: Marshall Wieczorek (Wretched) served as an emergency fill-in for Pete when he had to run home mid-tour due to a family emergency, while Dan Gargiulo and Todd Stern (Hammer Fight) served as live guitar fill-ins for David when he broke his hand.
- Thrash Metal: Probably one of the most successful and respected examples in the new wave of thrash.