Colorado's Havok are thrash true believers, defenders of a faith dating back to the golden age of the Eighties. The quartet's forthcoming fifth album, aptly titled V, is set for worldwide release on May 1st via Century Media Records, and you can pick it up in a variety of editions including an extremely limited, Revolver-exclusive white vinyl version that's almost completely sold out already — order yours via our webstore now before they're gone.
Since Havok frontman David Sanchez and his cohorts are such reverent followers of their speed-metal forefathers, we challenged the singer-guitarist to pick his top five thrash albums. It was a tough task, but he was up to it and came back to us with some great selections ranging from the undebatably obvious to a couple more obscure choices. See below — and jump in the pit!
This may be the most aggressive thrash album ever created. It's undeniably ruthless in its speed, intensity, attitude and ferocity. The right-hand work on the drums and guitars is relentless and the lyrics fit that motif. There's a reason Reign in Blood is often cited as one of a quintessential metal album. It's practically the embodiment of the thrash-metal genre. Full speed ahead!
It's very hard for me to pick a "best Metallica album," but for the sake of this list, I've chosen Master of Puppets. The entire record is loaded with riff mastery and dynamics that were unrivaled at the time. This record takes the listener from slow and dramatic to blistering and abrasive. This album was a big step up from Ride the Lightning in the technical precision of the recordings. The guitars were tracked insanely tight and it blows my mind that the members were only in their early twenties when it was recorded. The album is very dark and moody with some of the best melodies and vocal performances that Hetfield ever committed to tape.
A lot of people wouldn't consider Pantera a thrash band, but Cowboys From Hell is undoubtedly a thrash record. Many of the riffs and solos on this record are unforgettable. The entire band is on fire on this record, but what really solidifies it as one of my favorite albums is the vocals. Phil's vocals on this record don't sound like any other Pantera album, and I honestly think his work on this album may be my favorite metal vocals ever recorded. He's got it all on this record: grit, attitude, soul, articulation and searing high screams. The songwriting throughout the record is catchy, yet progressive. It's truly a classic that everyone should take notes on.
I was going to put Bonded by Blood on this list, but decided against it because I think Exodus' live album, Another Lesson in Violence, takes the greatness of Bonded by Blood to a whole new level. It was captured upon Exodus' reformation with original singer Paul Baloff. The energy and production of this live album are unmatched and it essentially contains the whole Bonded by Blood album, with some extras thrown in. The album has crushing production and hilarious banter from Paul Baloff throughout the entire show. Any fan of Exodus that hasn't heard this is truly missing out. There are so many great moments on this gem and the performances and production totally eclipse the original studio recordings for me. This is a shining example of what a live thrash album should be.
If you like your metal slow and loose, this ain't the album for you. The Unquenchable Thirst is one of my all-time favorite metal records because it perfectly blends thrash, death metal, punk, hardcore, grind and rock & roll into a ripping 25-minute package. This is one of those albums where, as soon as it ends, you want to start it over again. This record morphs through different genres at lightning speed and keeps things fresh and fun the entire time. Every instrument, including the vocals, is razor-sharp and articulate at incredible speeds, rivaling even the fastest Slayer material. Psychosomatic has been around for a long time, but somehow remained under many people's radars. I hope that people will read this and take the time to check out this amazing band that's massively influenced my own songwriting. There are so many great riffs and hooks on this record. It's a perfect marriage of thrash-metal technicality with punk-rock attitude.