I have often considered why people go to metal shows and I think it has a lot to do with rebellion. It used to be a metalhead’s way to take a shot at the masses but unfortunately, there hasn’t been any ammunition worth firing in a long time.
The Big Four and their supporting cast are aging. A subpar album every few years isn’t enough to build the metal scene. I have to admit I was worried about the state of metal in America. What metalcore act could ever fill a gap left by the loss of Slayer or Megadeth?
Then about six years ago, I saw a little known band from Colorado open for Malevolent Creation. The place was empty but Havok didn’t care. They played a revamped version of old school thrash with a set as tight as a virgin’s panties on prom night. There was a buzz after they finished and that innovation has morphed into momentum.
Havok’s latest release Conformacide is set to be released next month and the metal community is taking notice. I recently had the opportunity to speak with David Sanchez and Reece Scruggs the night Havok kicked off the Conformacide tour. Please enjoy some excerpts of our 2/8/17 interview where we discuss the upcoming European tour, music videos and The Big Four.
David Halbe: Welcome to Chicago.
David Sancchez: Thanks! We’re very glad to be here.
Dave: You’re welcome. How did the extended time between albums enhance the recording process?
Reece: Well, aside from the recording process I think it enhanced the writing process as well. I think it was very beneficial for the band as a whole and it was much needed at the time we decided to take it. We compiled a bunch of riffs and a bunch of ideas that we’d come up with on the road but never had the time to do anything with them. We took the time to sort it all out so by the time we got to the writing process, we were like ‘let’s make something out of this’.
Dave: Is there a special meaning behind the Conformicide title?
David: Well, everybody has been interpreting the album title differently because it can be interpreted in different ways but when it was thought of the idea was like pesticide, the idea of killing pests so (laughs) I guess you can figure out the rest.
Dave: (Laughs) Alright. Lyrically, Havok has always made an effort to be politically current. Can we expect that trend to continue on Conformacide?
David: As long as those two themes are still an issue, yes. (Laughs) and I don’t foresee them going away anytime soon.
Dave: Has any video support been planned?
Reece: Yes, in addition to the videos (lyric) we’ve already released, we are going to have a live action band video for one of the singles. Hopefully coming up within the next month or so.
Dave: Are you going to shoot it on the road?
David: It’s already done.
David: About a week ago.
Dave: Can you tell me what song?
David: It’s a song called “Intention to Deceive”.
Dave: Sounds kick ass, are you guys excited about the upcoming European tour?
Reece: Hell yes!
David: We haven’t been to Europe in a while so it’s going to be fun to go over there and play some new songs. Especially after the record’s out because on this tour the record is dropping in the middle and a lot of people are going to be unfamiliar with the new stuff. By the time the European tour in April arrives, we’re hoping a lot of people will have heard the album.
Dave: How many songs did you learn off the new album for the tour?
Reece: Well, right now we’ve got four down and I’d imagine once the record drops we’ll add one or two more.
Dave: It’s well known that heavy metal juggernauts like Ozzy, Maiden and Dio helped establish aspiring Big 4 Artists by taking them out on the road. Do you think the Big 4 artists have done enough to help establish this new wave of metal?
David: They can always do more, they can always take Havok out. (Laughs)
Reece: Not that I can see, they’ve never taken the time to mention or take out for that matter but it would be great for some of those artists to realize the next evoluiotary step in this genre of music are these bands like us (Havok) and the need to go ‘Oh, they’re raising the flag for what we created, it needs to stick around, it needs to stay alive, let’s give them a boost’. It’s no different than pro wreslting where a pro legend gets under a smaller guy eventually in ten years time that smaller guy will be a legend as well. You put over someone for the good of the business. You have to do that to help it stick around for a long time.
Dave: I agree. I’d say it could also help with the older bands longevity because that younger act can help with the gate.
Reece: Absolutely, there you go.
Dave: What’s your reaction to this statement: This tour features some of the best artists to pick up a guitar in the last 10 years.
Reece: Flattered. Extremely flattered.
Dave: I think it’s true man, thrash hasn’t had bands of the caliber of Havok and Exmortus touring in years. Not to mention Warbringer later on.
David: Total thrash brutality!
Recce: It’s flattering and a great compliment. I hope we can put on the best shows performance wise..
David: You had better play it right!
Reece: Thanks! It’s the first day!
Dave: Hey, thanks for your time today guys, I really appreciate it.
Reece: No problem.