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Havok, Exmortus @ Reggies, Chicago (USA) – 8th February 2017

Havok are currently the undisputed kings of the new wave of thrash and show no signs of giving up the throne soon.

I always try to make the start of a gig but Wednesday February 8th  I took things to a whole new level. I was supposed to get off work at 3:00 pm, ample time to make a 6:30 interview with Havok but my boss was hell-bent on working me into the ground. At 5:30 I found myself texting Hanna, the band’s tour manager, apologizing. There was no way I was going to make it to the venue on time. Fortunately, Havok were running late themselves. I had a new window and I was intent on making it. I rolled into Reggies just in time to meet Hanna at the band’s merchandise counter.

Havok Exmortus US tour 2017 poster

I enjoy watching crowds build at concerts. Loyalty is a strong motivator for a headbanger. Typically, whoever plans on attending a show is there no later than an hour after the doors open. Wednesday night was the opening night of this tour and the place was fucking packed! It took nearly fifteen minutes for Hanna to escape the counter because she was selling so many Havok shirts! There was an electric vibe in the house and it was contagious.

I’ve seen thrash bands fill up Reggies before but those bands are established acts that have been touring for decades. This crowd was something different. This was thrash metal rearing its ugly head once again. Why now? I considered this for longer than I care to admit and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are finally guitarists around good enough to drive a new wave. Think about ‘80s thrash for a minute. The bands you remember feature prolific guitarists. Metallica – Kirk Hammet, Megadeth – Dave Mustaine or Kreator – Mille Petrozza. You get the idea….

For years thrash has lain dormant like a good book on a dusty shelf, a great story waiting to be rediscovered… and that time is now! Hanna took my partner in crime, Roger Schultz, and myself down into the bowels of Reggies where we met David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs of Havok. Once the Havok interview was complete we headed back upstairs and into the venue where Exmortus had just taken the stage.

Although I was disappointed I missed the opening acts, I was glad I got to catch Exmortus. I’ve been covering this band since 2014’s Slave to the Sword and it has been nothing short of inspiring seeing this group mature as musicians. The success they have garnered couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people and they are truly deserving of all the accolades they receive. The Exmortus attack is brutally fast and intricately furious but what allows this group to stand out is their ability to keep their shows interactive and fun. The band consciously include ‘cover songs’ in their set; this time it was around Boston’s instrumental melody, “Foreplay”. Exmortus are fans as much as they are artists, and I believe this grounding is what makes them so special.

Exmortus were followed by headliners Havok. I haven’t seen the band play live since 2011’s Time is Up and I must admit the solid turn out had me anxious to see how they’ve grown.

Havok hit the stage and had the fans circling each other like a pack of rabid dogs! Mosh pits erupted constantly. The band tore through song after song giving us very little time to breathe.

The Conformacide material went over well with the crowd reaffirming the thought that Havok has yet another hit record on their hands. They are currently the undisputed kings of this new wave of thrash and show no signs of giving up the throne soon.

As I left Reggies that night, I felt like the musical tide was doing more than just turning. This new wave of “Conformicide” is growing and fairly soon it will be large enough to bowl us all over! \m/

Check out this amazing tour and help the thrash wave build!!! \m/

David Halbe
About David Halbe (270 Articles)
I live in the USA and I'm a fan of all types of metal: Black, Death, Hair, Thrash, Nu, Core, Sleeze, Stoner, Groove, etc... I have a huge collection of heavy metal CDs and I have been attending shows since 1986. Nothing is too extreme or poserish for me, if it rocks it rocks. Metal is the music we all have in common, it is our lifeblood. \m/

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